San Diego has long been California’s No. 1 avocado producer, but that may be changing.
The local avocado industry really took off in the 1970s, when some people exploited a temporary loophole in federal tax law.
But these days, it’s getting harder and harder for San Diego farmers to grow and make a profit from avocados. Why? Water.
Water rates in San Diego have soared over the past several years, making it hard for avocado growers to make money or compete with other growers who enjoy subsidies or lower costs.
Water quality here also isn’t good for farmers. As San Diego officials have scrambled to assemble a drought-proof water supply, they’ve begun to rely more on water from the Colorado River. That water, it turns out, is quite salty, and avocado trees don’t dig salt.
In this week’s San Diego Explained, NBC 7 San Diego’s Monica Dean and Voice of San Diego’s Ry Rivard discuss the history and future of avocados in San Diego.