Courtesy of UNITED AVOCADO GROWERS
At no time since the La Habra Heights were first terraced and planted with avocados in the late 1920's and early 30's has the per pound price of avocados reached the high point of this 1972 seasone The clock would have to be turned back to a time when a few hundred bearing acres made up the entire industry to rind a comparable price year.
It may be a small consolation but all growing areas are enjoying & "bust' crop. Individual trees of most varieties are producing less fruit than any previous year in avocado history with the possible exception of the freeze year of 1937. While the crop is short3 the demand for avocados is up dramatically. Advertising and market promotion by an entire industry, taking advantage of population growth, movement westward1 increased urbanization, and changing rood habits, has accounted for a 10% increase in new users each year, according to a market survey.
For growers with little or no fruit, it has been a year better for-~otten. To growers with fruit on their trees it has brought a special headache--fruit theft. While theft has become an epidemic in all avocado growing areas, the problem has been particularly serious in the La Habra and Hacienda areas. Estimates place the fruit loss here at fifty thousand dollars. The fruit is removed from the groves in picking sacks, gunny sacks, shopping bags or cardboard boxes, generally one-hundred or two-hundred pounds at a time, day after day. Following are a few hints on cutting down of theft:
1. Check your grove frequently for pulled or cut stems.
2. Look for fruit piled in the groves, a favorite device of avocado thieves is to return to gather picked fruit after dark or early in the morning.
3. Pick areas bordering roads or drives and pick low accessible fruit.
4. Don't hesitate to call authorities if you see suspicious persons or vehicles and get license numbers. Try to talk to police officials in higher authority and make the ser iousness of the problem known to them. Inform the packing-house where you deliver fruit and request that your packer receive no fruit from unidentified sources.
In California it is a felony to take farm proiuce with a value of over fifty dollars. In the event of an arrest make sure that the information is given to the local newspaper in order to discourage further theft.
Poor production and small sized fruit continues to plague many of the groves in the Heights. Much of the problem can be traced to faulty irrigation and some to overcrowding of large trees. Alternate tree removal is a simple solution to overcrowding and often the sale of wood will pay the cost of thinning. Frequent irrigation at intervals of two to three weeks during the warm, dry part of the year, using less water per irrigation and with one deep leaching to remove salts in the soil in late September will increase tree vigor and fruit size in healthy groves and improve the appearance and lengthen tree life in others. Be sure that your pipelines have no leaks and that all sprinklers operate properly.
While water costs are high in La Habra Heights (every effort should be made by grovers to petition for a readjustment of rates for agricultural water) the ultimate cost of maintaining a grove in good condition is generally less than the cost of abusing or aban-doning ite No great amount of fruit is required to pay even a high water bill. Trees are going to require a certain amount of care not to become a source of blight and a cause for property devaluation. Taxes and most bther costs go on notwithstanding.
Groves of leafy green avocado trees make La Habra Heights what it is. Ecologically and economically they are of real value to each grower, his family and his neighbors.
Walter Beck, a one of a kind avocado grower, died May 2~ at Fall-brook. Certainly not since the avocado entered its truly commercial phase has anyone given so UTuch in knowledge, time and dedication to the California avocado or to the growers of avocados. Born in La Habra, the son of an early avocado pioneer, Walter Beck developed groves of his own, grafting literally tens of thousands of large trees over to better varieties for others. He was one of the foun-ders of the original United Avocado Growers and a partisan for the then new Hass variety. He moved to the then developing Fallbrook avocado area. He was chairman of the California Avocado Advisory Board from its inception until 1970. A sister Ethel and a brother Edward continue to operate groves in La Habra Heights.
For further information regarding avocados call United Avocado Growers
For further information regarding avocados call United Avocado Growers 697-2~6~.