Hello, Friends! Once again it is springtime in the avocado grove! Our long-awaited rain has finally arrived in March. Weeds and wild flowers are growing! During the past year we have been taking out older trees and replacing them with baby trees. You can see in the photo that the trees with more sunshine exposure have some lovely new leaves. The baby trees are beginning to bloom, and the weeds are very healthy! We’ll be weed-whacking as soon as the rain stops.
Harvest Has Begun
The fruit that has been growing since last spring’s bloom is ready to harvest! We are beginning to pick the largest Hass avocados, but the smaller ones will stay on the tree to grow larger. Fuerte variety avocados are in season now – my favorite avocados! We started picking them in December, and soon we’ll be picking the last of the Fuertes. If you haven’t heard about Fuerte avocados, check out Do You Know Fuerte Avocados? .
Avocado trees shed their leaves all year long. The green leaves fall on the ground and dry up, creating a thick layer of mulch under the trees. New leaves are red before they turn green. I think they’re gorgeous!
Buds, Blossoms, and New Growth
Most of our trees have buds, and some of those buds are already opening. Can you see the little star-shaped flowers? When the flowers begin to bloom, little “umbrellas” of new leaves begin to appear. Can you see those little baby leaves coming out?
During the past week we have all been listening to the news about the spread of COVID 19 virus, and trying to figure out what it means for our own family, our jobs, schools, and everyday life. Toilet paper supplies have disappeared from stores. We have joked that in an emergency we could certainly use avocado leaves! The trees need their leaves though, to keep the tree healthy and growing, and to shelter the avocados from the sun. We watch the leaves to make sure pests aren’t eating them, and to make sure they are getting enough water and nutrients. We even send leaf samples in to the agriculture lab to get them tested, so we are sure they are getting the nutrients they need.
Baby Avocado Trees and Wildflowers
The baby trees that we planted last year are beginning to fill out and grow taller. When the trees are small, the sun can reach all the branches. The tree will bloom all over, and soon there will be baby avocados. As the trees get older and bigger, they grow closer together. We have some areas near the house where no trees are growing right now. I throw wild flower seed in the open spaces, and when it rains they grow. Some of the wild flowers come back every year, and lots of the weeds come back too.
As I mentioned before, the Fuerte season is from December until the end of March. Last December some friends from Vermont came to visit us. I showed them how to use a picking pole to reach the biggest Fuerte avocados high up in the trees. There were smaller avocados in the lower branches, but we left them to grow bigger. I went out to check those same trees yesterday and found that those small avocados are nice big ones now! It’s so great to be able to just reach over and pick a few. They’re hard when they’re picked from the tree, but over the next week to 10 days they will soften up and be ready to eat. We keep them on the kitchen counter and wait until they’re perfectly ready to be cut.
In the past few days a lot has changed here in California and all across the country. For many, life will be very different in the coming weeks. We sincerely hope that all of you will stay safe and healthy. Here on the ranch, we’ll keep taking care of the trees, and stay at home. We’ve been told that the avocado market may slow down, since restaurants and hotels won’t be using as many avocados. People may wish to avoid grocery stores.
We know that many of you rely on avocados as a staple in your diet. If you cannot get out to the grocery store, or find that your local farmers’ market is closed, you can order avocados from our farm online. We have boxes of Fuertes or Hass avocados available, either 6 or 12 at a time. You can even send gift boxes to friends and loved ones. If you need them every week, sign up for a subscription. We will continue to ship our fresh avocados every week, usually on Monday or Tuesday, depending on the rain. Know that your avocados will be picked and placed directly into a box. You will receive them 3-4 days after they were picked, so it will take several days or perhaps a week before they are ready to eat. If you place an order every week, you won’t need to rely on finding ripe avocados at the grocery store.
If you want avocados, go to California Avocados Direct, set up an account and place an order. We ship once a week, on Mondays or Tuesdays, depending on holidays or rain. Orders placed Monday through Sunday are shipped the following Monday or Tuesday.
Here’s to better days ahead! If we all work together, we can get through this!