It’s so exciting to walk through the grove in the springtime to see the avocado flowers turning into baby avocados. The tiny little nibs that begin to appear where we used to see blossoms are cute! They begin to grow bigger. First they look like B-B’s and then they become the size of olives. If you cut open one of these newborn avocados you will even find a miniature pit!
This is the time of year when some of the baby avocados start to fall on the ground. The brutal truth is that avocado trees simply cannot sustain all of the new babies that set after the bloom. The trees are still holding full size avocados that will be harvested in the coming months. In fact, farmers need to harvest the largest fruit so the tree will be able to begin growing the tiny babies. The healthy trees that have had excellent care over the last several years will be able to hold the new crop while the current crop sizes up. Farmers stay on top of irrigating, fertilizing, and feeding the trees with micro-nutrients. An entomologist may come to check the grove for pests and recommend treatments to ensure that the trees are not defoliated by insects that eat the leaves and that the developing fruit isn’t damaged by “bad bugs.”
Despite all of the great care from the farmer , some of the baby avocados will fall off of the trees. We find them on the ground. Poor little things…they’ll never grow up to be beautiful and healthy avocados. It’s just nature’s way.
The good news is that many of the babies will continue to grow. As long as the trees have had excellent care over the past couple of years, the trees will produce a new crop for next year. It’s important that the trees not be stressed….by heat, drought, pests, too much fertilizer, too little fertilizer, etc. In other words, farmers can’t take vacations unless they have someone they can trust to take over the care of the grove. Farmers often go out in the middle of the night to keep up with the irrigation during hot weather. If the avocado trees are stressed, they can drop all their fruit on the ground, and may not recover completely for a year or more, affecting next year’s crop as well.
These avocados won’t be picked until later in the summer, after they grow bigger. In the meantime, the baby avocados that stay on the tree will be growing on the same tree until next spring or summer. By then, the tree will be blooming again and setting more baby avocados, but only if someone gives the trees meticulous care.
Avocados get lots of tender loving care, day in and day out while they’re on the farm. When you get wonderful California avocados that are perfectly ripe and ready to eat, let them know that you love them too!