Environment

Something Terrible Is Happening to Avocados Right Now

The record-breaking heat wave that broke out over the Southwestern United States last week is wreaking havoc on Californians' most prized exports: avocados.

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that the temperature, which in some areas broke triple digits, dried out and burned the avocado trees, leaving Californians with precious few avocados for the Fourth of July weekend, a time when avocado sales usually spike.

It may affect next year's crops as well, Tom Bellamore, president of the California Avocado Commission, told the Times. "After the heat, it takes a while for the effects to manifest themselves, so at this point, we’re uncertain if there is a loss or not to next year’s crop."

For example, Garcia Organic Farm in Fallbrook, California, had five of its 29 avocado trees die, the Times reports.

Heath Shoup of West Pak Avocado, in Murrieta, California, told the Times some particularly chilling news: "There are not enough avocados in the industry right now to supply the demand."

Guacamole

Avocados are not the only food crop affected by climate change.

"The Napa Valley, which plays a key role in California's $60 billion wine industry, may become less suitable for growing premium wine grapes as our climate changes," reports Climate Hot Map. "High temperatures can cause premature ripening and reduce grape quality."

There may even be a peanut butter shortage by 2030 because of how dry the land has become due to climate change.

As for avocados, it's probably going to get worse before it gets better. Jeanne Davis of Coyote Growers, also in Fallbrook, told the Times that she's concerned for the future. "We’ve been here for 25 years, and this has never happened before. There will probably be a minimal amount of avocados for next year because we think that some of the flowers didn’t make it."

[H/T Climate Progress]