You probably know what an avocado looks like and how it tastes. But have you ever wondered how avocados are produced? If so, we’ve got the answer for you!
How are avocados produced? Well, avocados are fruits. Like every other fruit, they are brought into being through cultivation.
They may be planted from seeds or from grafts.
Depending on the propagative part one uses in cultivating an avocado, it may take 3 to 13 years before the tree starts bearing fruits.
In this article, we discuss how avocados are produced. But that ‘s not all. We will also discuss some other facts about commercial avocados.
How Are Avocados Produced?
Avocados are produced through planting. They may be grown from seeds (also called stone or pit).
Alternatively, they may be cultivated from grafts.
In many cases, farmers opt to grow avocados from graft. They do this because avocados grown from grafts bear fruits earlier than those grown from seeds.
On average, avocado trees grown from grafts take 3 to 4 years to produce fruits after planting. But those grown from seeds may not produce fruits until after 5 to 13 years.
Avocados are best grown in warm temperatures (between 55- and 85-degrees Fahrenheit).
Although some varieties, like the Mexican avocado, can thrive in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Avocado trees need full sun for optimal growth. They are best grown in well-drained, rich soil with a slightly acidic pH.
Where Do Most Avocados Come From?
Most avocados in the world come from Mexico. On average, it is estimated that Mexico produces approximately 1.9 million tons of avocados annually.
This production rate makes up about 30-35% of the total avocado production in the world every year.
Michoacán state in west-central Mexico is where most of the Mexican avocado production is concentrated.
It accounts for about 90% of avocado production in Mexico. Michoacán leads the way in avocado production, with an acreage of approximately 260,000 acres.
The reported avocado yield from Michoacán is about 1.8 short ton/acre, 1.6 long ton/acre, and can reach about 3.6 short ton/acre, 3.2 long ton/acre.
These figures are much higher when compared to the production figures of the United States.
In 2017/18, over 231,000 hectares of avocado trees were planted in Mexico, rising from an estimated 168,000 hectares in 2013/14.
In the United States, about 181,000 ton of avocados are harvested in California each year.
The remaining 10% of avocados produced in the US come from Hawaii and Florida.
Florida has over 6,500 avocado production acres in Miami-Dade County, with a small amount in Collier County.
In these areas, the climate is conducive to growing tropical fruits.
Why Does Mexico Produce a Lot of Avocados?
Mexico produces a lot of avocados because the conditions in the country favor large production.
Some of these conditions include the rainfall pattern and abundant sunshine. The said conditions also favor the year-round production of avocado.
Having many arable lands and the low cost of labor also contribute to immense avocado output from Mexico.
Besides this, the Michoacán state of Mexico has a lot of rich volcanic soil to support avocado growth. So, it is no surprise this city produces 8 out of 10 of the avocados in Mexico.
How Are Avocados Harvested?
Avocado fruits are unique because they never become ripe on the tree.
This phenomenon makes it possible for harvesting to overlap.
Avocado harvest generally begins at the end of fall or early winter and may continue till the following fall.
However, harvesting time for commercial avocados is decided based on the season and the avocado cultivar.
The weight of the fruit also helps in determining harvest time. Commercial avocado growers use a dry weight test to help measure the oil content of the fruit.
With this information, they can decide when to begin harvesting.
Pickers may work from the ground or use ladders while harvesting the fruits. However, in flat locations like California, they are pushed up via man-pushing machines.
Picking is achieved using a pole with a pull-cord operated blade and a catching bag attached.
In the state of Florida, avocado harvest begins from the end of May through March. A professional avocado picker can harvest about 3,600 avocados daily using a specially equipped pole.
When the fruit is harvested, it is not ripe. However, the ripening process begins as soon as the fruit is picked.
How Many Avocados Does One Tree Make?
On average, a single avocado tree may produce as many as 200 to 300 fruits in a year.
But this range can be as high as 500 per year.
Avocado trees do not always bear similar quantities of fruits yearly. They alternate their bearing.
So, one year you may get many fruits, and the next, you get just a few.
How Much Could You Earn off of One Tree (Commercially vs. Selling at a Farmers Market Locally)
An avocado fruit typically weighs between 0.25-3 pounds.
Considering that a tree can produce 200-500 fruits per year, you can expect a yield of between 50-1500 pounds (22.7-680 kg) of one tree in a year.
While writing this article, the average wholesale price of avocado in the US was $0.75 per pound. So, commercially, one can expect a gross revenue of $40-1,125 per tree.
Going by the prices on Walmart, a single avocado fruit costs $0.58-1.43 when retailed. So, one can expect a gross revenue of $116-715 per tree.
Do All the Avocados on a Tree Ripen at the Same Time?
No, avocados on a tree do not ripen at the same time.
In fact, avocados on a tree do not ripen at all. Some people even store their avocados on the tree until they are ready to eat them.
The ripening process of avocados begins when they are cut from the tree.
Typically, after 4-7 days, an avocado fruit will become ripe.
When avocados ripen, their flesh yields to slight, firm pressure.
Their skin also becomes bumpy and darker, turning purplish-black, reddish-purple, black, or yellowish-green, depending on the variety.
How Long Can an Avocado Produce Fruit For?
An avocado tree will not stop growing or producing fruit until something kills the tree.
The original Hass avocado tree, which has been around since 1926, still produces fruit.
In Mexico, some wild avocado trees have been standing for over 400 years, and they still produce fruits.
Avocado is a fruit, so it is produced through planting.
The world churns out an average of 5.5 million tons of avocados annually. Of this total, Mexico contributes the highest proportion – approximately 1.9 million tons (about 34%).
The second-highest rate of avocado production in the world comes from the Dominican Republic.
Even then, they only produce about a third of what Mexico contributes per year.