Why have avocados become so tiny?
The summer of 2013 has produced the most itty-bitty avocados in memory.
Wed, Aug 21 2013 at 3:08 PM
If you like all things cute and small – teacup pigs, baby pandas, microgreens – then this year’s Hass avocados are the thing for you. Like toy versions of their former selves, hundreds of thousands of trees in Southern California are offering nothing more than wee little fruits, some as petite as golf balls.
"I can't ever remember a season when all the avocados were this small, and that's over 30 years in the business," Charley Wolk, California's foremost avocado expert, told NPR.
Most reports note that the fruits are around 30 percent smaller than the average – and optimal – weight of eight ounces. Growers are saying that this year’s avocados are weighing in at five to six ounces; although shoppers are coming across teensy avocados that weigh less than three, and sometimes less than two, ounces.
So what’s to blame for the diminishing fruits? An off growing year with low winter rainfall in early 2012, inconsistent bee activity during the spring bloom, and an abundance of unseasonably cool and cloudy weather in the year since; all which add up to wimpy avocados.
But avocado aficionados can rest easy. This year’s crop will actually yield more individual fruit, and should lead to a harvest of larger avocados next year. Until then, the elfin avocados have little difference in taste and quality; just make sure to buy extra.
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