The avocado, characterised botanically as a 'berry', is widely regarded as a 'Super Fruit' packed with essential vitamins and minerals. It has a perfect balance of healthy fatty acids which are known to have a benefit in controlling high cholesterol. Whilst this fruit is rich in energy, it is certainly not fattening if eaten in moderation as part of a healthy eating plan.
Avocados do not ripen on the tree and are regarded as climacteric fruit. An avocado must therefore be picked from its parent plant before the natural plant hormone initiates the ripening process. When ripening avocados at home, a fruit bowl containing papayas or bananas will help speed up the ripening process due to the elevated ethylene levels in and around the fruit bowl.
Avocado production is ideally suited to sub-tropical climates but production does extend to coastal Mediterranean type climates. Avocado production requires particular orchard management practices to be carried out within specific physiological windows to ensure optimal yield and quality. Bee pollination is critical at flowering and it is thus imperative that growers embrace the importance of these beneficial insects.
To ensure the crop is cultivated within a harmonious and sustainable environment, whilst protecting it from particular insects, it is important to adopt principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). This ensures that pre-emptive measures of monitoring help to reduce the dependence on plant protection sprays.
Post-harvest handling from orchard to shelf requires the special attention of all experienced parties that become custodians of the fruit as it passes through the intricate chain which includes grading, packing, refrigeration, trucking and containerisation. Providing all steps have proceeded well, the fruit arrives into distant destination markets in a fresh condition similar to that of when it was picked off the tree.