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"The Long,, Lonely Quest to Breed the Ultimate Avocado" Topic

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202 hits since 6 Jan 2017
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP06 Jan 2017 9:49 p.m. PST

"It's the winter avocado harvest at the University of California's orchard in Lindcove, and the fruit jumbled in the back of Eric Focht's SUV are a palette of earthy tones, some rough and flecked with frosted tips, others green and smooth. The horticulturist selects three miniature fruit, bright green and rotund, which together fit easily in the palm of his hand. "We were thinking of calling it the Lunch Box," says Mary Lu Arpaia, who oversees the avocado breeding program at the orchard. But for now it's just an experimental variety, officially known by a string of numbers. It's too soon to tell if "Lunch Box" will ever be released to the world.

Chances are you haven't eaten—or perhaps even heard of—an avocado other than the Hass, which makes up 95 percent of the US market. Beloved in guac or trendy on toast, Americans ate 2 billion pounds of them last year, more than quadrupling consumption 15 years ago. But for California avocado growers, that astounding growth is limited by climate and geography. Twenty years ago, a thin coastal corridor in Ventura and San Diego counties met nearly all of the country's demand for the finicky, water-intensive fruit. Now the region supplies around 10 percent, overtaken by a flood of imports from Mexico and South America as California's spigots run dry and planted acreage wanes.

The California avocado industry grew on the back of its star variety, and consumers continue to demand more. But Arpaia envisions a time when the avocado will be more like an apple, with unique varieties harvested in different seasons and across an expanded geography—perhaps even here in the stifling heat of the San Joaquin Valley, hundreds of miles north from the coastal epicenter of US production. "If we want to stay on the game as California avocado growers, we need to bring diversity back," she says. For 70 years, the university's breeding program has worked in close partnership with the avocado industry, which pays for the care of Lindcove's experimental trees. But today, in these boom times for the Hass, it's unclear if the industry is willing to gamble on anything else…"
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Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2017 2:57 a.m. PST

Sheesh, you're all alone in an avocado plantation, you've just broken up with your girlfriend, feeling sad and lonely and these things are just hanging there, beckoning and teasing you…of course you're going to want to br…

Y'know, perhaps I've said too much already, I just hope my local and state agricultural officials don't get wind of this…


skippy0001 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2017 7:50 a.m. PST

Who makes the 'Avocado Jungle Of Death' terrain?

Personal logo Saber6 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian07 Jan 2017 10:34 a.m. PST

So we can play this?

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP07 Jan 2017 11:29 a.m. PST



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