This year has been filled with dismal news about climate change, the most chaotic presidential election in recent history, and now, the great avocado shortage. If we needed any more proof 2016 is the worst year ever, this might seal its fate.
What is causing avocado prices to skyrocket? It’s a combination of things ranging from labor disputes and pests to extreme heat and drought.
The most recent hit to the avocado supply is a grower’s strike in Mexico. Growers and pickers have gone on strike to protest low wages, which has led to fewer of the buttery fruits ending up in the United States.
I'll vote for whoever can end this avocado shortage.— Cody Lawler (@BrodyCawler) October 25, 2016
Ben Faber, a crops advisor for two California counties, told public radio station KPCC that California produces about 350 million pounds of avocados a year, while Mexico ships two or three times that amount into the US annually.
"Mexico is the largest producer of avocados in the world, and when they have a dispute, things get messed up," he said.
While a labor strike can be resolved, another major obstacle holds the avocado supply hostage.
A wave of triple-digit temperatures, combined with five years of drought, created a one-two punch that hit California’s avocado producers particularly hard. Most avocados grown in the United States come from the Golden State.
The downfall of America WILL be this avocado shortage, not the presidential election— Leesa Danzek (@leesaapizzaa) October 31, 2016
The summer heat wave left some growers with burned trees and unsellable avocados just before the Fourth of July holiday, the Los Angeles Times reported.
California growers have also been battling an infestation of a tiny beetle that drills holes in avocado trees and leaves behind a deadly fungus.
With prices at the grocery store increasing rapidly, and restaurants taking avocados off the menu, what are we to do?
One idea involves finding a new source of avocados. The Chicago Tribune reports the US Department of Agriculture proposes we allow imports from Colombia. This proposal was published for public comment last week, so it will still be some time before we see some relief.
In the short-term, there’s always Chipotle. The burrito chain tells Business Insider that there’s no need to worry about guacamole shortages or price increases anytime soon.
"We do not plan to raise prices for guacamole (we don't typically raise prices in response to short-term cyclical changes in food costs) and have not incurred any supply disruptions," Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold told Business Insider.
How are you coping with the great avocado shortage of 2016? Let us know in the comments below!