First harvest

By Jen Scoular, June 2020

Optimism may be tip-toeing back into our avocado industry with the first harvest of new season avocados having just begun.

Like all industries in New Zealand and around the world we have come through a period of considerable challenge and uncertainty in recent months. While we were perhaps fortunate to be outside of our export season at this time, the tail end of the avocado season suffered in the New Zealand domestic market.

When New Zealand entered lockdown in March and all cafes, restaurants and independent fruit retailers were closed down, the number of outlets available for avocados decreased considerably. Supermarket avocado trade was impacted as during the panic buying period consumers stocked up on less perishable items such as rice, baking ingredients and tinned foods. New Zealanders then proceeded to all eat through our stockpiles for the next two weeks, venturing out into supermarkets only when we really had to. All up this led to a month of disruption to the New Zealand avocado market at a time when values are usually at their strongest for growers with late season domestic supply.

During this time, we marketed a really fun activity – #avodinnerpartyanyway, inviting consumers to prepare a three course avocado dinner party, then eat it via zoom with their friends. We did it in-house as a practice and it was a hugely fun afternoon and evening. Lots of kids involved in the prep, and some very impressive looking courses came out to the table during dinner.

We don’t import avocados so endeavor to supply to the NZ market 12 months a year, and this year we won’t have a gap in supply, as new still have some prior season fruit on the trees, and the new seasons fruit is coming in.

Thankfully now we are all beginning to return to our favourite eateries and they have the opportunity to once again delight us with amazing avocado creations. I am loving seeing the return of café styled avocado-on-toast masterpieces, delicious guacamole in our favourite Mexican cantinas, stunning avocado salads and chef-styled avocado purees accompanying our finest cuts of NZ lamb, beef, chicken and fish gracing our fine dining restaurants once again.

The avocado industry has many challenges ahead this season and many still-unknown variables yet to manage, but it’s nice to be inspired by the chefs of New Zealand to enjoy a fresh breath of optimism as our new avocado season approaches.

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