Avocado groves have long been a staple of my hometown of Fallbrook. The town even calls itself the Avocado Capital of the World. Our microclimate is perfect for growing avocados. I’ve got a small grove myself. But this may be the last year—not just for me, but for many other small farmers as well.
Avocados are popular because they’re considered “superfoods.” And they’re creamy and delicious. And while they may be high in fat, it’s the “good” fat.
But avocado trees require 15 gallons of water per tree per day. With the California drought continuing to deepen—with no end in sight–who’s going to be able to spare this much water? Particularly if there comes a time (and it may be coming soon) that residences will be assigned water based on per capita rather than on land use.
So what’s going to happen to California avocados? Already, many ranchers have abandoned their groves, letting the trees die rather than continuing to fight an uphill battle with dwindling water supplies and facing a lack of support for local agriculture. Many farmers have been left to just walk away after years of harvesting this wonderful fruit.
When Fallbrook’s population was low and imported water seemed abundant, avocados were the perfect crop. For decades, Fallbrook was the biggest producer of avocados in San Diego County—and the county produces about half of all avocados grown in the state according to the California Avocado Commission. But now, with water a question mark, avocados are a question mark as well.
Will avocados become available only in high-end restaurants, or a treat for a special occasion? Avocado as caviar? It may seem hard to believe, but that may not be as farfetched as you think. So get to the market and make up a big batch of guacamole–while you can!