Beauty lies within - Avocados good to eat despite their appearance
Australian Avocados have been dealt a heavy blow by Cyclone Yasi, with 20% of the crop in North Queensland destroyed and a further 30 - 40% inflicted with scratches and blemishes to the skin. As cyclone affected, 'spotty' avocados reach supermarket shelves this week, consumers are encouraged to look beyond skin-deep.
Avocados Australia reported extensive damage to the crop when cyclone winds stripped fruit from trees. Any avocados that managed to remain on the branch have scattered blemishes or spotting, as a result of rubbing off each other. But appearances can be deceptive and this superficial, black spotting (known as Lenticel and 'Nodules') has no effect on the quality or taste of the fruit inside, which remains unaffected.
According to Antony Allen, CEO of Avocados Australia, "The industry estimates $10 million in damage to avocado crops in North Queensland. Many growers face a long road to recovery, with some suffering significant losses of fruit and others reporting damage to their trees, which were blown to the ground. We are urging consumers to help them get back on their feet by continuing to buy avocados, despite their imperfect appearance."
Avocados Australia is working closely with retailers to ensure availability of cyclone affected avocados between late February and April. Woolworths and Coles have shown their strong support for the North Queensland growers to date, by reviewing their quality specifications and allowing some spotted fruit to shelf. Consumers are urged to show their support too by choosing to buy the fruit, regardless of its appearance.
Mr Allen said, "We are not asking consumers to reduce their standards as the fruit still tastes as good as always. We are urging them to understand that the appearance of the fruit is currently out of the growers' control. Supermarkets will continue to enforce strict quality control on all fruit and vegetables, ensuring any imperfections lie on the surface of the skin only."
As growers begin to harvest their crops this week, the full extent of damage will be determined. The Tablelands contributes approximately 17% to the nation's overall supply of avocados but accounts for 80 - 85% of supply in March and April alone.
Thankfully other regions in Australia have been unaffected by Cyclone Yasi. Mr. Allen commented, "It will take approximately 12 months for the North Queensland industry to recover and for supplies to return to normal. In the interim, we will rely heavily on supplies from Bundaberg. Some fruit will also come in from Western Australia."
Consumers can expect to see an improvement in the appearance of the fruit when Bundaberg growers harvest their crop in April.
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