Ventura County avocado grower Chris Sayer described 2022 as a “banner year” for their operation at Petty Ranch. Production also appeared to be strong throughout the state. Sayer explained that they were seeing prices well over $2 per pound for much of the growing season.
“Fortunately for us, that coincided with both an ‘on’ year in terms of production for our existing avocado trees, as well as a number of recently planted acres finally reaching maturity and coming into production,” Sayer noted. “So, we had good prices and the best production we’ve seen yet in our avocado operation. That combined to really make for a fantastic year.”
The industry as a whole experienced overall success in 2022, despite a variety of water and weather challenges. There were more than 275 million pounds of avocados harvested in California last year, with record-high prices being reported. Sayer joked that a few more years like 2022 and he might be able to retire. Final California production numbers were a bit less than the pre-season forecasted projection of 306 million pounds from the California Avocado Commission (CAC). Sayer noted that it was a blessing for avocados to do as well as they did last year, after a disappointing season in another area of production.
“This was a great year to remind you of why you diversify because while avocados were great, lemons were terrible,” Sayer explained. “While avocados were our best year in terms of production at record high prices, this was our lowest lemon year of production in a number of years, at very low prices. So, it evens out in the end.”
Prices are not expected to stay as strong in 2023, according to Index Fresh. Increased levels of imports are projected to put downward pressure on prices. At the same time, CAC estimates indicate a projected 2023 harvest of approximately 257 million pounds.