This story is reprinted courtesy of The Produce News.
Turning the page from 2017 to 2018 has been an ascendant experience for Henry Avocado and its customers from coast-to-coast.
With the new year being ushered in by the spectacular demand for avocados during Super Bowl weekend, every metric for predicting a successful season has been positive for the California harvest, which got under way in late February at Henry’s lead distribution center in Escondido.
The early start is an indicator of the anticipated increase in product from all California orchards, according to Phil Henry, who added that the season may also last longer into the summer.
In addition to being a grower-shipper, Henry is also active in farm management for other growers in the region and state and is in a position to confirm the industry’s estimate that production will nearly double that of 2017.
Last year California production peaked at 200 million pounds, while early estimates for 2018 are for 370 million pounds. Always boosted by Mexican avocados, which help make Henry the year-round distributor it has been since 1990, Mexico’s growers will export an additional 1.8 million pounds, ensuring Henry’s clients have access to consistent volume and smooth flow throughout the spring and summer months. Last year Mexico shipped 1.7 million pounds to the U.S. market.
Adding to Henry’s optimism regarding 2018 is its expansion of facilities, which began last fall when the company opened a distribution center in Charlotte, NC. Currently Henry is building a new packinghouse in an Escondido industrial center that will open in time for next year’s production. It will be outfitted with the leading machinery for sizing and sorting and will feature cutting-edge cold storage with the most modern and energy-efficient refrigeration available.
Henry also noted the continued popularity of organics and that the company has additional groves in the United States and Mexico to meet the increased demand. Bagging, which is also on the upswing, is available at all seven distribution centers Henry has in four states.
Henry introduced organics in 2010 under its premium Bravocado label, which is used for conventional avocado packing as well. The company’s CustomRipe program provides all its fresh avocados to the specific degree of ripeness its customers require.
Available since it pioneered the practice in 1983, Henry has added additional ripening rooms at its regional centers, giving it a total of 100. In addition to the two centers in Escondido, Henry has distribution centers and ripening rooms in Milpitas, CA, Phoenix, and San Antonio and Houston, TX, and the most recent addition in Charlotte, NC.
A one-page CustomRipe Ordering Guide, a marketing aid and fixture in the industry for well over a decade, is available from any of Henry’s marketing and sales offices. It has helped inform almost a generation of avocado buyers by detailing the five separate and distinct stages of ripening that can be produced at Henry’s distribution centers.