Summer on the Ranch: Avocado Harvest!

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new crop of avocados

The new crop of avocados for next year is already sizing up on the trees as we harvest the mature avocados during the summer.

Now that July is here,  we wake up to bright sunshine most days.  The  “May Gray” and “June Gloom”  have passed,  and we can look forward to summer heat that crowds our local beaches, but keeps The Farmer close to home so he can irrigate the trees.    The pretty spring  wild flowers are gone now, replaced by tall weeds that go to seed and turn brown in the scorching sun.  There is little chance of rain now.    Soon the only green left on our hills will be the avocado and citrus trees.   During  summer months we we are busy with California avocado harvest!

mowed grove

The weeds are mowed between the trees.

The first sound in the morning is the clanking of metal on metal,  as workers move their ladders from tree to tree so they can pick the mature avocados.  Some of the trees have grown very tall,  so it takes an experienced picker to climb up the ladder with a picking bag over his shoulder and a picking pole to reach the fruit that grows high up in the canopy.   The shorter, rounder trees are easier to harvest, as the fruit grows closest to the sun.

ladder in avocado tree

bin of avocados

Avocados are picked and collected into large bins.

The days are long in the summertime,  with everyone working to bring in the crop:  the pickers,  the farmers, the truck drivers,  and the packing house workers.  The harvested  avocados are collected into plastic bins that can hold as much as  850 lbs. each.  The bins are moved from the grove with a forklift or jeep.    Later in the afternoon or evening,  the big truck from the packing house  arrives.    Each bin of avocados is noted on a “ticket” so that the fruit  can be tracked through the weighing, sorting and packing  process.    The packing houses package and  broker the fruit to retailers, restaurants,  food service providers, etc.   Those mesh bags of avocados that you find in Costco might have come from our ranch!

loading the avocado truck

Loading bins onto the truck to go to the packing house.

 

avocado harvesting

The Farmer has to irrigate the trees  around the schedule of the pickers,  so that the area won’t be wet when they are ready to work.  After the crew is finished harvesting in an area of the ranch,   every irrigation sprinkler and water line must be checked to make sure that any damage that might have occurred during the picking can be repaired before it’s time to water those trees again.  Avocado farmers get plenty of exercise,  hiking up and down hills,  inspecting each tree.

 

sprinkler on avocado tree

Every tree has a sprinkler for irrigation.

When I take a walk around the ranch during the summer,  I don’t do it during the heat of the day.  The early morning and late evening hours are the nicest for being outside, since the  air is cooler without the searing sun.   Songbirds before sunrise… rustling of dry leaves as lizards skittle in the grove…hawks circling high above the trees…packs of young coyotes yipping in the evening…and gorgeous sunsets.

 

sunset on avocado ranch

Looking west toward the beaches of the  Pacific Ocean, 18 miles away…

While the rest of the world is traveling or on  vacation,  California avocado growers are reaping the result of  their  hard work and investment.  As the fruit comes in, they are watching and hoping that the market price will cover the costs of growing this crop,  pay the expenses for  the new crop that is already sizing up on the trees for next year,  and provide income for their families too.   The conversation at the end of the day:   “We picked some beautiful fruit today!”   “Yes,  the pickers found some gorgeous avocados today…nice sizes too!”

harvested avocadaos

Avocado growers are proud to send beautiful fruit to market.

All the work throughout the year to keep the grove healthy and produce top quality avocados  pays off when we know that we’re sending fruit to market  that will be full of flavor and provide a wonderful eating experience for avocado lovers all over the United States.    When you enjoy a California avocado,  remember  that lots of love went into growing,  harvesting and sending it to you.   How do you know you’re buying a California avocado?   Look for the sticker on the fruit!

avocado packing house

“Grown in California’ stickers are added to the avocados at the packing house, before shipping to retailers, restaurants and produce distributors.

Can’t find California avocados?   Check out California Avocados Direct,  our gift box and subscription service.   Even though the official season for California avocados is during spring and summer,  we  ship select avocados throughout the calendar year to households all over the USA, and sometimes even to Canada and Europe.   The fruit that goes into these boxes is specially selected  and picked to order.   When we pack each box,  we know that the recipient will be enjoying the very same top-quality fruit that our family uses every day.   It’s exciting to see where the boxes are going:  birthday gifts,  hospitality gifts,  hotel promotions,  boxes for families to share,  and subscriptions for people who love great avocados or have special dietary restrictions.   We think of our customers as an extension of our family.

avocado gift box

These are Fuerte avocados, available January through March.

 

Hass and Reed avocados

Stay tuned for Reed variety avocados…shown in the corners of this box.   They look like large round balls, compared to the pear-shaped Hass variety. Very creamy and full of flavor, rarely found in stores.  Have you ever tried a Reed?

 

 

 

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9 Comments

  1. I recently learned there are different “kinds” of avocados! Thanks for sharing photos and a description of all the work you do. Avocados are a big part of our diet even though we live in PA, but it’s good to know we can find fresh avocados year-round. Love your blog!

    • Glad you help support the avocado farm families of the world! There are many, many varieties of avocado but not many are marketed anymore…like apples or tomatoes. We used to grow seven of them…now have five. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. We love getting our shipment! Thank you for such an informative post. I’ll be sharing this with some avocado lovers I work with.
    Eric

  3. Mimi, you just encapsulated the sounds and images of my childhood…”Songbirds before sunrise… rustling of dry leaves as lizards skittle in the grove…hawks circling high above the trees…packs of young coyotes yipping in the evening…and gorgeous sunsets.” Just gorgeous! I’m so excited to have met you through Gigi! Congratulations on your Sunshine Award!!

    • Delighted to have found you too, Heather! Hope I can be a connection to home and avocados for you! I have found my connection to home in Vermont through others too! Let’s keep in touch! When you visit your family, maybe we can meet in real life!

  4. Oh, I would love to meet you! I’ll let you know when our next family visit comes up! Growing up, I had a few friends whose daddys had avocado groves. Their dogs were always fat from eating avocados off the ground!

    Just perused the CA Avocados Direct site. I’m hoping the husband will agree to the 10 month shipment. :)
    Heather @Gluten-Free Cat recently posted..Woodlands, Gluten-Friendly Indian Vegetarian CuisineMy Profile

  5. I never get tired of looking at those groves!! And I am SOOOOOO excited for the Reeds…my favorites!
    Fuji Mama recently posted..Cancun Chicken CurryMy Profile

  6. I’m always in awe of the hard work our farmers put in to give us our food to eat. And like La Fuji Mama, I, too, never tire of looking at your groves!
    Laura @ Family Spice recently posted..White Apricot Sorbet with Honeysuckle for #SundaySupperMy Profile

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