Don't Make Fun of Avocados

Hass avocado toast
Hass avocado toast
L.A. Weekly

Avocado toast is a punch line. That's fair, to a certain extent: People have been smashing up the green fruit and putting it on top of cooked starches for a good chunk of human history, but it's only in the past couple years that restaurants have decided to not only add "avocado toast" to their menus but charge absurd prices for it as well. And people went for it because of the high prices! There's a lot to mock.

While most of us can cheerfully laugh at ourselves for eating avocado toast, understanding that we spend too much on little things because big things are out of our reach and the American Dream is just a failed thesis, some people take it much too seriously, like that Australian richboy Tim Gurner, a real estate mogul who was given tens of thousands of dollars in family loans to start his businesses but said that young people can't afford houses because they buy avocado toast.

The thing is, avocados are relatively pricey produce. That's why they're more liable to be stolen, the same way grapes, almonds and walnuts are. But high prices, market demand and bigger windfalls for farmers are all tied up together, which is why scientists and economists are looking at avocados as a potential new crop for financially struggling countries.

Avocado trees have been growing wild in Tanzania since the late 1800s but haven't been commercialized on a large scale. In 2015, a company called Rungwe Avocado Company planted 250 acres of Hass avocados, but had some trouble scaling up. So who did they look to for help? Californians.

Yes, our passion for avocados is so notorious that we're called from across the globe to talk about the fruit — how to grow it, pack it, protect it from pests and sell it. Specifically, the company is relying on University of California experts Mark Hoddle and Mary Lu Arpaia to teach them the ways of the alligator pear. You can read all about the project on the UC food blog here. The idea is to create agricultural jobs, and higher income for farmers, in an avocado-obsessed world.

So, no more making fun of avocados, be they plain or on toast. (Or in guacamole with chips — the original avocado toast, am I right?) Take photos of your bourgeois snack proudly, knowing that your choices are helping make the world a more equitable place, and you could never eat the number of avocados needed to change your finances.


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