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Author Topic: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?  (Read 1563 times)

Coach62

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Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« on: December 30, 2018, 07:07:57 AM »
I'm seriously considering clearing out an acre + that I have and planting the Florida Super Hass avocado tree on it as kind of a small scale avocado farm experiment.  If it works, maybe expanding onto a larger scale operation. 

I'm basing this on the fact that there have been avocado shortages of late, and there is just no way that demand for avocados is going down in the near future.  I see demand increasing over time.

I would think the only serious threats would be 1. pests / disease.  2. Overproduction of something often follows a shortage.  3. Start up costs.

I would anticipate my main markets being specialty stores such as Oak Farms / Seed to Table, Whole Foods, Miami Fruits, Trader Joes, etc....

More thinking out loud here.

Thoughts?  Anyone want to try to talk me out of this?  I've been an entrepreneur my entire life and don't mind hard work.  I just know farming can be hard, backbreaking work and profits can be slim.

Thanks in advance. 
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Bruce

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2018, 09:43:52 AM »
1. Know your market.  For instance most specialty food stores like whole foods only sell organic. I know from your posts you grow conventionally.  If you do plan on transitioning over to organic, study the rules.  For instance they frown on clearing land to farm and also frown on burning the carbon that has been cleared to farm.

2. A polyculture is better than a monoculture for everything including you the soil and your future success.  Start with a variety of avocados to extend your selling season. Intercropping with other species generally promotes good soil and plant health.

Good luck.

Capt Ram

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2018, 11:19:02 AM »
Actually WHole Foods sells more non-organic items then organic- I shop there 1 or 2x a week since they have been around-- right now non organic Hass is going for $1 each and organic ones around $1.50+
I would consider planting a few different types of Avocado trees to see what does best in your area- I have  about 10 trees I planted 4 years ago and there is a difference in the way all of them grow- this year I had my first small crop
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zands

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2018, 11:29:07 AM »
My random thoughts:
Avocados ship lots better than mangoes.
Mango trees are easier to grow than avocado...at least in South Florida.
The low carb people love avocados. It is on their + list. I see the lo carb craze expanding so avocado demand expanding.
Avocado is a very in health food these days even in UK (I bet they get Mexican ones) where they eat avocado toast? I suppose avocado smeared on toast.
Women go gaga over avocados same as sushi because both are seen as healthy and you don't put on weight eating them (right or wrong)

I see no avocado shortage. Huge Hass plantations in Mexico have come on line and prolly more to come. Hass ships very well, I sure hope Florida Hass is the same for you.
This week in Aldi Hass avocado are 49 cents. They must be Mexican.
Walmart has huge Dominican avos for $1.50. The watery kind that is native to Florida.
Watery or Hass, they are all OK with me.
Today will have a grass feed hamburger with Hass avocado on the side.
I have a Lula tree that is thriving so hopefully this time next year I will eat a hamburger with my own Lula avo on the side.
Try mashing up avocado with soy sauce, black pepper then a bit of onion or garlic. A  bit of balsamic malt vinegar too.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2018, 11:36:43 AM by zands »

Cookie Monster

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2018, 02:17:18 PM »
I think your best bet would be to sell direct to consumer, eg, via mail order. You will probably not make much money (if any) from a small orchard by selling through a retailer. I know when my wife has tried to sell our fruit to local markets, they pay peanuts compared to what she can get by selling direct. There's no sense trying to compete with the giant producers who can sell avocados for less than what it costs you to grow them. You're going to want to market your product in a space that's not already dominated by big growers.

Lastly, I agree with the earlier suggestion that you should consider growing a more diverse set of crops. If you sell direct to consumer, you will have goods to sell all year round if you plan it right.
Jeff  :-)

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2018, 02:37:34 PM »
I'd personally stay away, because of saturated market, and laurel wilt...

I remember one year in South FL, the cost to pick avocado was more than the what you could get from selling it....so all the avocado went to waste, and it was all over the ground everywhere, thousands of pounds of perfect fruit.

Coach62

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2018, 03:35:49 PM »
1. Know your market.  For instance most specialty food stores like whole foods only sell organic. I know from your posts you grow conventionally.  If you do plan on transitioning over to organic, study the rules.  For instance they frown on clearing land to farm and also frown on burning the carbon that has been cleared to farm.

2. A polyculture is better than a monoculture for everything including you the soil and your future success.  Start with a variety of avocados to extend your selling season. Intercropping with other species generally promotes good soil and plant health.

Good luck.

Thanks for the input.  I actually don't use many chemicals at all.  I've just arrived at the realization that with citrus in particular, you have to be more aggressive.
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Bruce

Coach62

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2018, 03:50:18 PM »
Thanks for all the input everyone, Laurel Wilt was my main concern. 

I was "hoping" that the super hass could draw a bit of a special market due to its size.  I was also hoping that by concentrating on smaller specialty markets, like Oaks Farms, I could skip the middle man and shipping.

But - "hoping" is not a business plan, so I would have to do some homework for sure. 

Cookie makes a good point also about selling direct.  That may be the way to go, along with mangoes, atemoya, etc. 

I'd personally stay away, because of saturated market, and laurel wilt...

I remember one year in South FL, the cost to pick avocado was more than the what you could get from selling it....so all the avocado went to waste, and it was all over the ground everywhere, thousands of pounds of perfect fruit.

Thanks Adam, I *assume* those avocados were the watercodo varieties and not Hass??  Just out of curiosity, have you tried one of the super hass avocados out now?  I've only had one, but I thought it was as good, maybe even better than the standard hass.  And the size was really impressive. 

There have been avocado shortages, I remember a few years ago Subway stopped offering it on their sandwiches because of the shortage.  It makes sense that they would increase production.
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zands

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2019, 12:46:56 PM »
To add....... For avocado minimalists. Rough chop-mash avocado (watery or Hass) with only sea salt and  balsamic vinegar. Plus minor onion-garlic. I rarely patronize Whole Foods but their Balsamic and X-virgin Olive oil can be trusted and are top tier.

pineislander

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2019, 08:58:13 PM »
Most retailers would only give you $1/ea for wholesale avocados and sell them $2.00. Larger fruit or special varieties maybe a little more.
This is my first good year for avocados and I was especially pleased by the productivity and size of Choquette. It is not necessarily the best but for production it has been my best, and my latest maturing variety. Many folks who deride West Indian race avocados as "watercado" have gotten specimens picked too early. The farmers pick when they size up and will ripen to avoid losses later on by wind, defects, squirrels, etc.
Just like peaches or other fruit which are picked too early you can't judge a variety by what you find in a store.
Fruit of most any of these is vastly improved if held on the tree to develop higher oil content, I have been pleasantly surprised at the difference in taste and creaminess.

kc_moses

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2019, 10:08:45 AM »
You should consider growing Macadamia nuts. The Low carb people love it too (I'm on Ketogenic diet). I went to Costco last week, a 24oz bag of Macadamia nut is selling at $20!!!!! If you have an acre of Macadamia nut, produce hundred and thousands pound of nut, some goes to the squirrel, you're still making a lot of profit. I read that FL is getting in to the Macadamia nut business because citrus is just not doing good, and FL is competing with CA for Macadamia nut. I myself will get one Macadamia nut tree to grow this Spring.

johnb51

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2019, 06:38:24 PM »
You should consider growing Macadamia nuts. The Low carb people love it too (I'm on Ketogenic diet). I went to Costco last week, a 24oz bag of Macadamia nut is selling at $20!!!!! If you have an acre of Macadamia nut, produce hundred and thousands pound of nut, some goes to the squirrel, you're still making a lot of profit. I read that FL is getting in to the Macadamia nut business because citrus is just not doing good, and FL is competing with CA for Macadamia nut. I myself will get one Macadamia nut tree to grow this Spring.
How well do they grow here?  Any pests or diseases?  What is their range?
John

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2019, 07:02:51 PM »
You should consider growing Macadamia nuts. The Low carb people love it too (I'm on Ketogenic diet). I went to Costco last week, a 24oz bag of Macadamia nut is selling at $20!!!!! If you have an acre of Macadamia nut, produce hundred and thousands pound of nut, some goes to the squirrel, you're still making a lot of profit. I read that FL is getting in to the Macadamia nut business because citrus is just not doing good, and FL is competing with CA for Macadamia nut. I myself will get one Macadamia nut tree to grow this Spring.
How well do they grow here?  Any pests or diseases?  What is their range?

I am growing a macadamia nut here in lakeland Fl. Its been through two summers and this is its second winter. I protected it during last years freezes but I have read they are pretty hardy. Shouldn't be a problem for your area. Mine does not do much in the summer but grows well in winter and spring. Never seen a pest on it nor any disease. To small for for nuts right now so I can't say anything on that point.

pineislander

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2019, 07:58:33 PM »
They are bearing pretty well here on Pine Island but no one has ever eaten one. The nursery next door to me has dozens of mature trees but squirrels take every one before they are ready to pick. I would like to see a productive Macadamia orchard in Florida but haven't heard of one yet.

FruitFreak

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2019, 07:31:27 AM »
Iím sure you see all of the trees around us falling victim to laurel wilt.  Although a local avocado farm would likely do really well, I would not sink a bunch of money (solely) into avocados because of this factor alone.  You should ask Carlos.
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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2019, 09:10:52 AM »
I saw a Facebook Marketplace in my area where a guy sell FL grow macadamia nut out of his truck just like road side fruit stand. I think the price was $8-10/lb. So it's definitely doable in FL.

Mark in Texas

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2019, 09:38:50 AM »

Thoughts?  Anyone want to try to talk me out of this?  I've been an entrepreneur my entire life and don't mind hard work.  I just know farming can be hard, backbreaking work and profits can be slim.

Mother nature will kick your ass every which way but Sunday.   ;D

johnb51

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Re: Seriously considering a small avocado farm - thoughts?
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2019, 08:26:38 AM »

Thoughts?  Anyone want to try to talk me out of this?  I've been an entrepreneur my entire life and don't mind hard work.  I just know farming can be hard, backbreaking work and profits can be slim.

Mother nature will kick your ass every which way but Sunday.   ;D
;D ;D ;D ;D
John

 

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