As guacamole, on toast, as garnishes on tacos, or extras in salads-- no matter how you slice them, people love avocados. But avocados aren't local to Arkansas (sadly) and a recent People Magazine article caught my attention and gave me pause.
"The United States Department of Agriculture’s current retail report for the week of July 12 lists the average retail price of a Hass avocado at $1.25, 12 cents more than it was this time last year. The Associated Press reports that the fruit went for $2.23 per pound the week of July 12," the July 19, 2019, article read. It goes on to say that production in Mexico is at its lowest this time of year and California had its smallest crop in recent memory.
Production may be down, but demand is up and it may be safe to say that the Avocado is America's newest food sweetheart. According to the website Statista:
"In 1985, domestic consumption was a meager 436 million pounds. That number has increased six-fold to over 2.4 billion pounds of the berry being consumed by Americans in 2018. Per capita consumption has increased from 2 pounds in 2001 to nearly 7.5 pounds in 2018."
Holy guacamole! And yes, before you question it, an avocado IS a berry scientifically.
As part of Cooking in Bloom, I encourage my students and their families to buy locally grown farm-fresh ingredients as often as possible. Buying local creates more positives than negatives-- you build community when money stays local, you're cutting down on fuel consumption transporting goods, and you cut down on refrigeration or other energy-draining measures to keep goods fresher longer; and when you buy farm raised meats, produces, fruits, honey, cheese, you aren't getting the massive preservatives that often go into foods shipped across the county (or continent for that matter).
I love avocados, but when I see statistics saying that prices have nearly doubled in a year, it gives me pause. And I have to reevaluate the impact these (all be it delicious) purchases are having. Maybe instead I will buy more Cave City Watermelons or stop by my farmers market for some Bradley County tomatoes. Eating healthy but with an eye on sustainability is just one component of Cooking in Bloom.