Damage Heavy, but Supplies of Calif. Avocados Remain Strong

IRVINE, Calif. - Although the major freeze event that hit Southern California this week caused significant damage to the 2007 avocado crop directly in its path, most of the state's 6,500 growers who farm 60,000 acres in California will be able to supply the market to meet consumer demand in 2007, according to the California Avocado Commission (CAC) based here.

"Commitments to retailers for the high-consumption Super Bowl weekend February 4-5 will be met, though consumer prices will likely rise," said CAC president and c.e.o. Mark Affleck.

It will be several weeks before industry experts can determine how much fruit has been damaged by the cold weather, said Affleck, noting that early reports suggest that losses could reach 10 percent to 20 percent of 2007's projected 400 million pound crop.

Use of wind machines and irrigation water may have kept some avocado groves from freezing in warmer locations, but reports of damage are coming into the Commission from San Diego to California's Central Coast.

Affleck said CAC is working closely with government officials to do everything possible to help affected growers recover and get back into production.
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