Menu Planning

Avocado Season: How Time of Year Affects Prices and Quality

Apr 17, 2023

Avocado Season: How Time of Year Affects Prices and Quality

It’s always avocado season in the state of Michoacán, Mexico. With more than 42,000 avocado orchards at elevations from 2,000 to 10,000 feet, it’s the only place in the world that can supply whole fruit all year.

However, even the best avocados are a product of Mother Nature. And every restaurant knows the quality, supply and price of Mexican avocados vary, depending on the time of year, sometimes wildly.


In this article, we’ll talk about the seasonal factors in Michoacán avocado growing and how you can mitigate these ups and downs for better profitability.

How Avocados are Grown in Mexico

Avocado trees are grown in orchards, which are carefully maintained to ensure optimal growing conditions. The soil in avocado orchards is carefully prepared, with the pH level and nutrient content closely monitored.

Avocado trees require plenty of water, and irrigation systems ensure that the trees receive the right amount of water at the right time. Lack of water can reduce the all-important oil content of the fruit, diminishing the buttery flavor and texture your patrons love.

Avocado trees take three to five years to reach maturity and produce fruit. Once the trees start producing fruit, they can continue to produce for up to 40 years.

Mexican avocados mature up to eight months after the flower is pollinated and don’t begin to ripen until after they’re picked. Once mature, fruit can remain on the tree for up to six months before they go bad, giving farmers the power to hold out for higher prices.

When are avocados in season?

The mountainous terrain and favorable climate in Michoacán provide ideal conditions for avocado trees to thrive at varying elevations, resulting in year-round fruit production. Avocado orchards are situated at different altitudes, creating four overlapping bloom seasons throughout the state:

  • Loca (harvested June-September)
  • Aventajada (harvested September-October)
  • Normal (harvested September-February)
  • Marzena (harvested March-June)

Loca: “Crazy Fruit” Season

The Crazy Fruit Season is a term used to describe a period during the summer months in Mexico when avocados are harvested alongside other tropical fruits. While the exact timing of the Crazy Fruit Season can vary depending on weather conditions and other factors, it typically occurs from around June to September.

The Crazy Fruit Season can bring other challenges that may impact the quality and availability of avocados. For example, hot temperatures and high humidity during summer can increase the risk of pests and diseases, which can affect avocado trees and reduce yields.

Additionally, the availability of labor for harvesting and packing the fruit can be a challenge, as many workers in the avocado industry may migrate to other regions of Mexico or the United States during this time.

Avocados harvested during the summer months can have issues that may affect their quality, including:

  • Sunburn: When avocado trees are exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods during the summer, the fruit may get sunburned. This can cause the skin of the avocado to turn brown or black, and can lead to off-flavors and reduced shelf life.

  • Less rich flavor: If avocado trees do not receive enough water during the summer months, the fruit may have poor quality, with a lower oil content, a drier texture, and a less rich flavor.

  • Pest damage: During the summer months, pests such as mites and thrips may infest avocado trees, causing damage to the fruit. Infested avocados may have blemishes, off-flavors and may not be suitable for consumption.

The pitfalls of crazy fruit season leads many U.S. operators to switch to prepared avocado products (frozen and chilled) through the summer months

NOTE: Because high oil content is critical for customer satisfaction, Simplot avoids buying avocados during crazy fruit season for our Harvest Fresh™ frozen avocado products. To ensure the very best quality, we make our frozen products exclusively from high-oil-content fruit picked at their peak during the other three seasons.

Aventajada: The “Advantaged” Season

Aventajada is the shortest season and characterized by the blooming of avocado trees at mid-elevations in the region. During Aventajada, these trees produce fruit that is often smaller than those produced during other seasons but with high oil content and rich, indulgent flavor.

Normal Season: The longest and biggest avocado season

The most productive avocado season is the so-called Normal Season, stretching from early fall through February—six full months leading up to the “Big Game” in the U.S.

Marzena Season: Filling the gap

The harvest in this season picks up as Normal Season fades and runs through the start of Crazy Fruit Season in June.

Why are whole avocados so expensive at times?

Beyond growing cycles, the price of whole avocados is sensitive to several other factors out of the control of restaurants or even the growers.

  • Weather-related events: Droughts or extreme weather conditions can cause damage to avocado crops, leading to lower yields and higher prices. For example, in 2021, a winter storm in Texas caused significant disruptions to the avocado supply chain, leading to higher prices and shortages of fruit in some areas.

  • Trade disputes: In 2019, for instance, the U.S. threatened to impose tariffs on all Mexican imports, including avocados, to pressure Mexico to reduce the number of Central American migrants entering the United States. The prospect of these tariffs caused avocado prices to soar, as importers rushed to stockpile avocados before the tariffs went into effect.

  • Labor disputes and strikes: In 2019, a labor strike in Michoacán caused a significant drop in avocado production, sending prices skyrocketing. The strike was eventually resolved, but not before causing significant disruptions.

How to use frozen avocado products to hedge against price spike

Everyone loves a good avocado, but the variability in the quality, availability and price of fresh avocados can be an expensive challenge for restaurants that menu it regularly.

On the other hand, frozen avocado products like Simplot Harvest Fresh™ pulp, guacamole and cut fruit eliminate a lot of the problems of fresh with:

  • Consistent pricing and availability year-round.
  • The quality of perfectly ripe, 100% Mexican Hass avocados picked only in peak seasons.
  • Reduced waste and simpler inventory management thanks to an 18-month shelf life.
  • Simple, thaw-and-serve prep that reduces labor costs.
  • Safer prep for less-skilled labor—no knives required.
  • Sustainability—We repurpose the pits and peels generated during processing. None are landfilled.

Countless menu applications—sandwich toppers, guacamole, bowls, smoothies/drinks, dressings, sauces, baked goods, etc.—simply don’t require fresh avocado. Frozen is the perfect choice year-round in items where avocado serves as an ingredient in a larger recipe. This lets you reserve fresh avocados for dishes where fresh taste and texture are front and center.

In addition, many operators mix fresh and frozen avocado products into the same item—like guacamole—to dampen the volatility in food costs without giving up fresh entirely.

No matter how you use them, with Simplot Harvest Fresh™ frozen avocado products, it’s always avocado season. Learn more about Harvest Fresh™ products for foodservice.