There’s a lot to learn about avocados. Firstly, did you know the plural of avocados is not spelt with an ‘e’ (oops. Lesson learnt). Secondly, the origins of the name comes from the Aztec word for ‘testicle’. It has also been called ‘alligator pear’, referencing the rough skin and shape of the fruit. Thirdly, when growing avocados, it’s important to fertilise, mulch, and have two different types of tree – which gets me to my last point. Some types of avocado trees are A types, and others are B types. It takes a B to fertilise an A, and it takes an A to fertilise a B. This is because each tree has BOTH female and male flowers which open at opposite times of the day. For example, the A type tree’s female flower will open in the morning, and its male flower will open in the afternoon. But the B type tree does the opposite, with the male opening in the morning, then the female in the afternoon. I believe with a bit of luck and the right wind or insect, they can even pollinate their own flowers in the brief period where the male and female flowers overlap. Confused? Me too. But I think it’s still impressive.
So many thanks to local growers Sandra Fishwick and her sons Joey and Carl Hanly from Red Plateau Organic Produce, who gave me my introductory lesson in growing avocados, seen here in this short film. They have successfully navigated the sometimes choppy waters of succession farming by expanding their business across not one but now two farms. Interestingly, other local farmers are also taking up the avocado mantle, swapping dairy herds for avocado orchards as they tap into a burgeoning industry. With avocado consumption on the rise and recipes incorporating them continuously emerging well past the traditional salad, they are part of an increasingly busy local mid north coast industry supplying both big and small business nationwide.