Agriculture

Statewide avocado shortage impacting Central Coast businesses and farms

Statewide avocado shortage impacting...

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - For many people, avocados have become an obsession.

"Oh we love avocado -- I could eat it morning noon and night," says Lynn Hirano. 

"People like avocado on everything -- they get avocado on ice cream for crying out loud," Steve Byork, Manager of Sissy's Uptown Cafe in Lompoc tells us. 

But the beloved fruit could become less available at small businesses like Sissy's Uptown Cafe.

"One of our most popular sandwiches is turkey avocado and we've nearly had to eliminate the avocados temporarily because they're just so expensive and what you don't use just goes bad," Byork says. 

A statewide shortage of avocados is causing a surge in prices. 

"They're about three dollars a piece right now which is just about at the top of it right now - if they got much more expensive we'd have to eliminate them entirely," says Byork. 

Avocado farmer Kenneth Doty believes the state's water problems may have played a role into this year's shortage, telling us: "The drought not only played into the numbers of fruit but also the size of the fruit that grew for that crop year."

Doty says avocados are in between production cycles this time of year as well.

"California crop was done a month/month and half ago. Mexico's production has not kicked in yet so we're going through a scarcity of fruit so the price goes up," he explains. 

Doty says the cycles often go from heavy one year and lighter the next. 

So that means next year's production could be bountiful which good news for customers like the Hiranos because a life without avocados is hard to imagine.

"It doesn't make me nervous but it does make me sad.. I really love the taste of the avocado," Robert Hirano says. 


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