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Bumper crop of Mexican avocados causes prices to drop

Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-17 22:49:20-05

While it may seem like the price of everything is increasing, Mexican avocado prices are decreasing.

“There’s a bumper crop of Mexican avocados this year," said Michael Wolfe, owner of the Avocado Shack in Morro Bay.

He says that has resulted in much lower prices.

“Significantly. Like 30% cheaper than last year,” Wolfe said.

He says last year, he paid about $50 per case for Mexican avocados. This year, he’s only paying $30 per case, making the average price $1.05 per pound.

While the price of Mexican avocados is dropping, the price of California avocados remains high.

“There’s less acreage producing avocados in California than there was 10 years ago,” Wolfe said.

And it’s not just regular customers feeling the impact of fewer California avocados.

“I would say mostly restaurants because they want to make guacamole and put avocados on their burgers. It’s just cost-prohibitive in this state of inflation," Wolfe said.

“It’s definitely been hard finding good avocados, especially in season, so it’s hard for us to make the guacamole," said Michelle Morales, Mi Casa Restaurant server.

That can lead to menu price increases.

“Definitely prices have been increasing, so it’s hard for us to increase them too,” Morales said.

Wolfe explains what makes California avocados so special.

“So the oil content is very high. The Mexican avocados, they might stand for about a year or so. They’re average. These are extraordinary fruit. It’s almost a different fruit,” Wolfe said.

But that extraordinary fruit can come at an extraordinary price.

“Typically we got $40 to $45 a case. I’m paying up to about $90 a case,” Wolfe said.

Coming out to about $4 per pound — Wolfe says that's about 45% more than last year.

“We’re hoping to have a better year this year, but that heat spell knocked a lot of little baby avocados all over the ground. We might have another tight supply for California avocados again,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe explained that as of right now, the farthest north you can grow avocados in California is San Simeon and the farthest south is San Diego, but as temperatures continue to increase, the agricultural landscape could change causing avocados to be able to be grown farther north.