The state’s Sharwil variety is making a comeback after a 25-year hiatus.
If you haven’t heard a lot about Hawaiian avocados and you happen to live in the Lower 48, there’s a good reason for that. While the tropical island state is an ideal growing region for the fatty fruits, the ability to export them eastward has been fraught with regulation and all but ceased for the better part of a quarter century. But last month, Hawaii’s avocado industry saw weekly shipments of roughly 3,000 pounds each commence to a pair of Seattle produce wholesalers. The larger, regular exports signal what could be a huge expansion for Hawaii’s avocado farmers on the horizon.
Domestically, California and Florida dominate avocado production (growing the familiar Hass variety) with Hawaii coming in third and utterly dwarfed by the over two billion pounds of fruit coming in from Mexico and South America each year. Even then, the three states listed above only account for about ten percent of total demand as the United States’ annual per capita consumption of avocados has skyrocketed from 2.21 pounds in 2000 to 7.47 pounds in 2018. Clearly, the demand is there, so why hasn’t Hawaii been supplying it?