Did you know that of the 44 million avocados that were consumed globally last year, five million of them were used in sandwiches made by Pret a Manager? Madness, eh?
The world is in the grip of avocado fever – in the UK alone, sales of the green fruit that is named after a certain part of the male anatomy (or at least that’s what Wikipedia tells me anyway), reached a record £128m in the 12 months to March 2016, according to the Telegraph.
I would not like to guess how much the hubby and I have contributed towards that sales growth, but it will be considerable. Avocado is one of our most favourite things to eat and we get through at least one a week (more since moving to France and increasing our salad consumption).
We are also big fans of the birthplace of the avocado. Not only did we spend a fabulous two weeks at the end of our big Latin America trip in Mexico but more importantly it played host to our wedding in 2008, so it would not be an understatement to say that the country has a special place in our hearts.
Therefore, we were pretty devastated to read in the Guardian that rising avocado prices are fuelling illegal deforestation in Mexico. Apparently farmers can make much higher profits of the fruit than they can other crops and so are thinning out pine forests to make way for avocado trees. The drug lords are also taking advantage to the tune of $109m a year in extortion money.
This is terrible news. What were we to do?
So we had a chat about it. We certainly don’t want to stop eating avocados, but nor do we want to contribute to illegal deforestation. We decided to take action.
We are going to grow our own instead.
We intend to become semi-self-sufficient within the next couple of years anyway, once we find the right house. Why wait until then to get started growing crops when we can start now? (The urgency of this decision became even more apparent when we realised it could take between four and six years for the trees to start bearing fruit. Eeek!).
Following some thorough research on the internet (i.e. we watched this YouTube video), we decided we were now suitably educated to get started.
The best part about this is that you have to eat the delicious avocado first so we’ve enjoyed a lot of guacamole and avocado salad this week. We are currently attempting to propagate three stones on the window sill. There are another three avocados in the fridge. We will have a veritable forest by the end of it!
To save you the effort having to watch the YouTube video yourself, here are the step-by-step instructions as to what to do.
1. Remove the stone from the avocado
2. Make yourself a delicious meal from the fruit. We recommend mashing it with some tomato, garlic, fresh coriander, paprika and squeeze of lime for a delicious guacamole. Or simply serving with some tomato, mozzarella and basil.
3. Wash the stone, then carefully peel it.
4. Now for the tricky part – identifying the top from the bottom. The top will have a small lumpy bit at the top (where it was once attached to the tree) while the bottom will be smooth (like a baby).
5. With the top at the top, and the bottom at the bottom, gently but firmly insert three cocktail sticks at an angle.
6. Your stone is likely to have a natural crack running through it. Do not stick your sticks into this area.
7. Balance your stone on the top of a plastic cup and fill with water until about half to three quarters of the stone is submerged.
8. Place in the sunshine and wait for it to sprout!
Voila, the beginnings of your very own avocado farm!