We are hearing from consumers frustrated at the increasing price and decreasing supply of avocados.
We do share a message through our many channels of communications that avocados are seasonal, and the export season is August to February, during which time the supply is plentiful.
That export season also matches the New Zealand summer, so supply and demand are both high, making pricing reasonable.
We don't coolstore avocados for longer than a couple of weeks so any avocados left after the main season are at risk from New Zealand's island weather — wind and rain or a combination of both.
So, it is more expensive to hold an avocado longer on the tree. There is more risk of that avocado falling from the tree, making it unsaleable for food hygiene reasons.
We'd love to respond to all the people complaining that avocados have got expensive, but we do actually recognise that is about seasonality and market demand — and supply outside the main season is lower, in some years like this one, much lower.
I did enjoy a fabulous selection from my local greengrocer recently, savouring that amazing taste of avocados on toast for breakfast then enjoying the other half at work that day, washed down by a $5 flat white. I'm sure there was more taste, nutrition and value in my avocado, than in my flat white — and I don't hear too many complaints about the cost of coffee. Or do we just get used to prices for products that are available all year?
The board is off to the Far North this week to visit a couple of the new, very large orchard developments.
Investment into our industry is welcomed, as we grow from what has been a cottage industry to a fully-fledged horticulture export industry.
That investment helps build supply of avocados too — we anticipate more volumes will stretch each season more, and offer more avocados to New Zealanders.
The investment also brings new technology, new methods of growing and new ideas about maximising productivity.
Attracting workers and managers is an issue — especially as far north as these orchards are — and we welcome the co-ordinated effort across many fruit sectors, as the Horticulture Capability Group, to increase visibility of horticulture as a job and as a career.
I can certainly suggest that the opportunities to progress in varied, interesting and exciting horticulture sectors is very real within our industries.