Why You Might Not See Guacamole at BBQs This Weekend
Chips and guacamole are considered a staple at summer get-togethers, but you may be disappointed to discover that that tasty green treat is absent from your picnic table this holiday weekend. That’s because last week’s heat wave in southern California took a major toll on the region’s avocados.
With temperatures reaching as high as 117 degrees, the sun scorched both trees and their fruit, destroying a lot of the crop.
On top of the heat, the conditions were windy. The 30 MPH winds can literally blow the moisture off avocado trees, drying them out even faster. Not to mention that younger fruit can blow off the tree before they are mature enough to go to market.
With fewer avocados to go around, the price of avocados is creeping up, causing would-be guacamole-makers to reconsider the party dish.
You might not see much guacamole next year, either. Though it’s too early to tell, the effects from the heat may have been devastating enough to impact next year’s crop as well. Between the withered leaves and damaged branches, the trees just might not be able to bear fruit again soon.
On a list of foods that climate change threatens, avocados were on the top of the list. Scientists anticipate a 40 percent decrease in production of the crop by 2046.
The drought, which is not entirely unrelated to climate change, has also posed some major problems for avocados. It takes 74 gallons of water to grow a single pound of avocados. Given that 95 percent of the U.S.’s avocado crop is grown in California, a state with a lot of agriculture and not enough water to go around, this is a recipe (sadly, not of the yummy variety) for disaster.
According to Mic, some of the avocado crisis is humans’ own doing. Food trends (think kale and quinoa) are powerful, and avocados have never been so popular. The sudden demand for avocados has motivated some farmers to grow more of the fruit even though the conditions are not necessarily accommodating for this particular crop. Famers will inevitably fight for the resources needed to grow avocados, and the cost will go up even more.
Chipotle caused quite a stir two years ago when its annual report indicated that the rising cost of guacamole might require the company to stop offering it as an ingredient in its burritos. The public backlash was strong, and they hadn’t even taken away the guac yet!
It might be appropriate to sit your taste buds down now and explain to them that eating guacamole is not a guarantee in the years ahead. If you are lucky enough to stumble upon a dish this weekend, savor that flavor while you can – you never know when climate change will take that from you.
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