Fossil records suggest that avocados have their origins in Mexico and were far more common when the climate of the region through to California was more agreeable to this prehistoric fruit.
Historic evidence has been found that cultivation dates of avocado trees in central and South America as early as 5000BC; Inca cities have yielded evidence of avocados dating to 900AD. The earliest account of European cultivation of avocados is in the 1500’s.
Avocados appear to have been introduced into the Gisborne area by the Grey Family, Charles and son Len in the 1920’s probably from seed provided by the Department of Agriculture. Early records suggest the first commercial fruit was marketed in Auckland around 1939. The industry had a boost from this point on when the Grey’s imported more varieties from California; momentum increased to the point that orchards were established.
The regions of New Zealand that are best suited for the commercial growing of avocados are Hawkes Bay, Bay of Plenty and Northland; free draining soils of the volcanic and or sandy type and generally within 25kms of the coast. Avocados have been selectively bred to suit the New Zealand climate and are now a significant export crop.
Avocados are a rich source of fibre, antioxidants, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium, vitamin B5, B6 and E. They are also a rich source of magnesium, copper, manganese, zinc, iron, phosphorous, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine. Avocados contain no sodium or cholesterol and are low in saturated fats.
In summary they support the cardiovascular system including heart health and circulation, great for pregnancy and a healthy appetite. Last but not least, antioxidants to mop up those free radicals that are linked to accelerating the aging process.