AVO TIME: Lachlan Donovan is excited about the future for avocados.
AVO TIME: Lachlan Donovan is excited about the future for avocados. Jim Alouat

How well do you know your avocado?

THE Bundaberg region is expected to produce almost three million trays of avocados this year as growers begin packing up their fruit in anticipation of a bumper season.

Childers avo grower Lachlan Donovan said he began packing shepard avocados today.

Mr Donovan said this year's yield appeared, at this early stage, to be more than last year.

Avocados.
Avocados. CONTRIBUTED

He said in Bundaberg there was a six-week window for shepard avocados as its prime season was from March to April.

Bundaberg and the Atherton Tablelands are the only two places in the world the shepard avocado grows.

"You need to have the right climate at the flowering period which Bundaberg has,” Mr Donovan explained.

Mr Donovan said there appeared to be more of the fruit this season than previous.

"Shepard is a fickle crop,” he said.

"The weather at flowering time will determine how much fruit sets on the tree.

"This year most of the shepard trees have a lot of fruit on them.”

TRU1711 p15 to 21 Food pages by QCWA Country Kitchens
Yummy avocado meals. Cathy Taylor

With 350ha across four farming operations, the Donovans have about 70,000 trees, which produce 3000-4000 tonnes of avocado.

The farms are located at Childers and Bundaberg, with another farm at Bellthorpe on the Sunshine Coast.

Mr Donovan said the dry weather had affected avo growers across the Bundaberg region.

"The heat has caused more fruit to drop off the trees than we would have liked and might have brought the yields back a little bit,” he said.

Aussies are eating an average 3.1kg of the green fruit every year - 600g more than 10 years ago.

Avocado and prawn salad with green goddess dressing
Avocado and prawn salad with green goddess dressing Contributed

This demand has Queensland avocados penned to reach a gross value of $225 million this financial year - 49% higher than initial estimates.

Mr Donovan said shepard avocados will slowly start populating supermarket shelves.

Avocados Australia says most of avocado exports go to Singapore and Malaysia with priorities now including Thailand, Japan and China.

"Production fluctuates from year to year between production regions depending on seasonal conditions and other factors,” he said.

”The avocado industry is in a growth phase, so we expect to see year-on-year growth continue at a national level.”

KNOW AVO

Jim Alouat

Is the most common avocado variety Australia wide for most of the year

Classic oval shape

Distinctive pebbly, textured skin

Changes colour as it ripens - green to purple-black

Creamy texture and taste

Jim Alouat

Shepard avocados (greenskins) are available every year for a limited time

Longer and more elongated

Smooth, glossy green skin

Always stays green, even when ripe

Available February to April

Nutty flavour and buttery texture

Source: Avocados Australia

Avocado: the versatile fruit

Breakfast: Smash an avocado in a bowl and add a little salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juice. Pop a piece of Turkish bread in the toaster, butter, then add the avocado. Sprinkle with some goats cheese and parmesan.

Lunch: Finely chop half a red onion, one large tomato and a clove of garlic and add to a bowl. Peel an avocado and roughly chop and add to the bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and lime juice to make a guacamole. Serve with home-made tortillas.

Avocado breakfast smoothie
Avocado breakfast smoothie Avocados Australia

Drinks: Use it in a green smoothie. Blend baby spinach leaves, half an avocado, half a cucumber, green apple, celery, ginger and lemon for green smoothie goodness.

Delicious Chocolate and Avocado Mousse.
Delicious chocolate and avocado mousse. Contributed

Dessert: Avocado chocolate mousse. Cut two avocados in half and remove the stone. Scoop the flesh into the large bowl of a food processor. Add cocoa powder, vanilla extract, maple syrup and coconut cream. Process for 10 seconds. Add 150g cooled, melted chocolate. Process for 10-15 seconds or until creamy and smooth. Spoon into serving glasses or dishes. Serve with fresh fruit.