January 2020 Blog
By Jen Scoular
I hope readers enjoyed avocados in a variety of ways with their Christmas meals. My turkey was moist and delicious with avocado stuffed under the skin prior to cooking, we loved the avocado in the Boxing Day turkey sandwich and there’s no easier desert than avocado chocolate mousse.
The avocado season is going well, with nearly 70% of export volumes shipped, with good demand, especially over summer in Australia. The New Zealand market is buoyant over the summer, hopefully many feel avocados are a normal part of the fruit and vegetable shop. Anyone realising they need a health kick in January to fight off possible over-indulgence over Christmas should check out the amazing health attributes of our humble avocado.
The humble but amazing avocado will be celebrated well at the upcoming Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival on 18 January at Uretara Domain. The festival is a great place to enjoy an afternoon of food, wine and song, with the Topp Twins in action this year – maybe we will hear an avocado yodel?
We are excited about an upcoming publication of a history of our New Zealand avocado industry. I write a Christmas letter every year and sometimes struggle to remember what happened earlier that year, so we had to rattle a bit of grey matter to document the history of this industry from early beginnings when they were introduced to New Zealand via California in 1919.
That history has enabled our growth to date and we were very pleased to have the Minister of Agriculture and Minister for Biosecurity, Food Safety, and Rural Communities, Hon. Damien O’Connor, host a function at Parliament just before Christmas. The event was to celebrate avocado industry growth and to thank those who support our industry, across market access, funding, commodity levies, horticulture export, and numerous other people and organisations who make a difference to us. It gave us the opportunity to present our industry to them, to highlight the achievements and also set out the challenges.
I heard a quote today that we all have to do as much as we can, with as little as we’ve got, and as an industry I think we recognise that we can achieve much more if we share, if we look at what others are doing and ask for support.
We are embarking on a journey to understand our environmental footprint and started by getting a group of exports from other industries together to find out what they are doing, and what they know, to see what we might learn from them. We won’t decide what is acceptable – consumers will, so part of the programme be finding out what consumers demand to be disclosed about the avocados they purchase now and what they might demand in the future. A fascinating project to embark upon.