The wildfires that have devastated southern California have not only turfed some of Hollywood’s great and good out of their Malibu mansions. They’ve also done some serious damage to this year’s US avocado crop, most of which originates from this area. Early reports suggested that about a third of the total crop may have been ruined.
However, the good news is that The Californian Avocado Commission – perhaps keen to avoid a stampede of Mexican restaurateurs and suburban housewives descending on their local Waitrose – is playing down the reports. It reckons the true figure is likely to be nearer 10%.
The UK has more to lose than most, of course. Our love affair with avocados has blossomed to such an extent in recent years that we are now consuming twice as many as we were a decade or so ago.
But before the threat of under-powered green salads starts keeping you up at night, there is some good news. Most of our avocados are now shipped in from Central America and South Africa, so we’re probably safe (although don’t be surprised to see the prices shooting up once our friendly suppliers realise they’ve cornered the market).
And if supplies do run low, we’d like to propose a solution. New Labour apparatchik Peter Mandelson famously mistook a portion of mushy peas for guacamole during a rare excursion to the north of England – perhaps it’s time for the rest of the country to wake up to the mushy pea taste sensation?