Henry Avocado’s California Harvest To Peak at Ideal Time
ESCONDIDO, CA –April 7, 2014 — For year-round avocado distributor Phil Henry, there’s little distinction between the oncoming domestic harvest and the winding down of the offshore supply. His commitment to consistently provide customers with superior quality fresh avocados and great service is never seasonal. It’s the perennial purpose of Henry Avocado.
Whether the California crop is 515 million pounds, as it was last year, or the approximately 300 million pounds forecast for 2014, the company will always be importing high-quality fruit from its handpicked growers in Mexico, Chile and Peru over the summer as needed. Only the numbers will change to meet its foodservice and retail customer requirements for promotable volume.
In fact, no part of the company’s avocado distribution chain takes a season off. Good farming practices, which Henry strictly adheres to with the 2,400 acres under its California farm management program, is a year-round commitment to assure the California harvest will peak as the supply from Chile and Mexico subside.
Those same practices impact volume as well as timing. While the state will experience a 40% decline in production, Henry’s numbers should only be down 20% from last year’s record yield. Also on the positive side, the size of California avocados will be a little better. Henry anticipates more availability of 40s, 48s and 60s.
California’s 2014 dip in volume is only partially due to the pervasive drought conditions, now in their third year. There’s also the natural yield fluctuation that occurs on alternate bearing years, which is an oddity unique to avocado trees, according to the California Avocado Commission.
Phil Henry is confident the only negative impact of the state’s lower yield will be higher prices, which will be similar to those in 2011. “There will be sufficient fruit to meet our customers’ demand,” Henry advised.
Consumers looking to neutralize the higher price may turn to bags of avocados, which could bring a boost to retailers’ with those items in abundant supply.
Henry Avocado, which pioneered pre-ripening in 1982, now sells over 75% of its orders in some requested state of readiness. To accommodate growing demand for custom ripening in the southwest, Henry added 12 forced-air ripening rooms at its Northern California distribution facility in 2013.
This year the company has a net gain of 11 ripening rooms after replacing several aging units with modern additions. It gives the grower-distributor a total of 65 in three states.
New marketing programs are also available that will keep the summer crop in demand as well as sustain sales momentum beyond Labor Day. Henry cites the efforts of the California Avocado Commission for its new usage initiatives, like this year’s breakfast items, which first appear in foodservice outlets and later become a favorite recipe in consumers’ homes.
Henry’s one-page CustomRipe Ordering Guide, a marketing aid and fixture in the industry for well over a decade, continues to be available through the company’s sales offices in Fullerton, CA and San Antonio, TX. It has helped inform a new generation of buyers by detailing five separate and distinct stages of ripening that can be ordered. Such precise custom ripened deliveries are a proven method to reduce retail shrinkage and increase impulse sales.
In addition to its center in Northern California, Henry Avocado has sales and distribution facilities operating year round from its Escondido headquarters and in Texas and Arizona. All offer bagging options to meet local and regional customer requirements.