Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Bruce Springsteen's shoutout and the state of avocados

Talked to a SoCal avocado grower/shipper who smiled at the shout out from Bruce Springsteen at the Super Bowl, "Step away from the guacamole" Some other observations:

This season's California avocado crop is fairly light - about two thirds of a crop
Mexico is about 40% to 50% finished , but still has a lot to go through June
With Mexico supply at about 20 million pounds a week, California growers may not get the premium they want. "It's a different market out there these days."

Reaction from the CAC meeting in Fallbrook
Commission Chairman Rick Shade won praise for his handling of the meeting and fielding questions from growers, taking heat for all current and former commissioners. "It's our fault - we have nobody to blame but ourselves," the source said.
"The major stakeholders really know what went on, they know Mark, they know the culture up there at the avocado commission and understand it completely. We are all outraged. At least those larger packers and growers understood the situation - didn't like it - but understood it."

How damaged is the commission staff?
The grower shipper had strong words of praise for Jan DeLyser and expressed hope she would stay with the commission. "She is a first class lady, we've got good staff up there and we need to make sure we make the corrections, we answer the CDFA, we make those changes and this doesn't happen again, and we move forward promoting California avocados." Tom Bellamore also is highly regarded, the grower-shipper said.

The CAC will have a planning session in April, and the source said the group will look at how to reorganize. "We are no longer 75% of the market; we may be a third of the market in the future, what kind of structure, what kind of model is that?"

One question being asked: should the commission be all growers and no packers?

I asked if there is/will be peace with Mexico...
The source said Rick has gone out of his way to reach out to importers of Mexican and Chilean avocados. There is some discussion of getting merchandisers of various groups to work together.

The bar also may be raised for the Hass Avocado Board. HAB may have new responsibilities in generic promotions.

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