What we do in the orchard
At Avowest we apply nutrients in small, regular doses as the trees require them. We give the trees enough water to grow good quality fruit without being excessive. In addition to this there are some tricks we use to maximise the quality of our fruit.
Humans need calcium for strong bones and teeth. Calcium is also a structurally important nutrient for plants. Calcium helps make our trees more tolerant of salt and their roots more resistant to disease attacks. More importantly for avocado buyers, adequate calcium in the fruit helps to make our avocados more “robust”. If we can increase calcium concentrations in our avocados, they are more resistant to disease, more tolerant of bruising and will have a longer shelf life. Calcium is a tricky nutrient to get right though and timing of applications is critical. At Avowest we apply calcium sulphate in the form of gypsum sand.
Care when harvesting
At Avowest we train our pickers to avoid bruising damage at harvest. We then supervise to make sure this is happening. When picked an avocado feels as hard as a cricket ball. If you treat it like one though the bruising will show up a week or two later when that avocado softens.
A West Australian summer is intense. We love the sun but sometimes there is a bit too much of it. Unprotected fruit will easily burn.
At Avowest we use sun protection products based on kaolinite. This is a naturally occurring clay that when sprayed on trees acts as a sun burn cream.
Harvesting mature fruit
Avocados that are immature or over mature will have poor flavour and will probably not last as long on a retailer’s shelf. If we sell our customers an avocado that tastes like a bar of soap because it isn’t ready, we understand that they will not buy again. We undertake rigorous dry matter testing to ensure our avocados have a rich, creamy flavour when they make it to the shelves.
Testing dry matter before harvest.
The samples have to be dehydrated to assess their dry matter.