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About Us

Welcome to Avocado Tours, where we offer a unique and educational experience for all avocado enthusiasts out there. Discover more about us, the orchard and, of course, the star of the show - the avocado.

About Us

Hi, its Michele and Tim here and we’re delighted to share our story with you.

We’re both passionate about health and fitness, so when it came time to embark on a new business and life adventure, we wanted to find something authentic that we could feel really connected to.

It didn’t take us long to stumble upon growing avocados as the perfect opportunity to match our passion for healthy eating, being outdoors and making a difference to the well-being of people.

The more we researched and the more we found out about this amazing superfood, the more certain we became that this was meant to be.

We both come from corporate backgrounds working in the nation’s Capital, so this change of direction (and career for Tim) meant an upheaval of not just our home, but also Michele’s mum and dad, who couldn’t wait to come along for the adventure too.

Like all farmers and growers, this adventure hasn’t been without its challenges, be it mother nature throwing cyclones at us, lockdowns affecting global shipping or global over-supply impacting grower returns. Did we mention the fertiliser cost increases because of the war in Ukraine!

From these challenges came the realisation that diversification was required to weather these storms and the idea of sharing our enthusiasm for avocados with visitors was born.

We hope to share this passion with you and warmly welcome you to our orchard in Katikati, the sunny Avocado capital of Aotearoa.

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About Our Orchard

Our orchard is located just five minutes south of Katikati in an area blessed with very rich and fertile soil, good rainfall and low frost risk. It’s no coincidence that some of the regions most productive orchards are located in this area.

 

The orchard is around 3.8Ha (about 9.4 acres) made up of approximately 250 large mature Haas trees, planted in the 1990’s, along with a few other varieties scattered in the mix.

About the Avocado

Avocados are native to the Americas and were first domesticated in Mesoamerica more than 5,000 years ago. The tree likely originated in the highlands bridging south-central Mexico and Guatemala. Its fruit, sometimes also referred to as an alligator pear or avocado pear, is botanically a large berry containing a single large seed. Avocado trees are partly self-pollinating and are often propagated through grafting to maintain consistent fruit output.

Here are some interesting facts about the history of avocados:

  • The Aztecs used avocados as a delicacy and an aphrodisiac. The name avocado comes from the Nahuatl word ahuacatl, which means "testicle."
  • Avocados were used by the Mayans as a source of oil for cooking and lighting.
  • Avocados were introduced to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.
  • Avocados were first grown commercially in California in the late 19th century.
  • The Hass avocado, which is the most popular variety of avocado in the world, was discovered in 1926 in California.
  • Avocados are packed with almost 20 nutrients and are a good source of vitamins C, E, and K, as well as fiber.
  • Avocados are an excellent source of healthy monounsaturated fats, are cholesterol-free and have naturally low levels of sugar and sodium.

 

Avocados were first introduced to New Zealand in the early 1900s by Charles Grey, a nurseryman in Gisborne. In 1926, Grey's son, Len, planted the seeds and the trees began to produce fruit in the 1930s. The Greys were the first to market avocados in New Zealand and their fruit was well-received.

In the 1940s, the avocado industry in New Zealand began to grow. More growers planted avocado trees and the fruit started to be exported to Australia. The first commercial avocado orchard was established in 1950. In the 1960s, the avocado industry in New Zealand experienced rapid growth. The number of growers increased, and the export market expanded. In 1980, the New Zealand Avocado Promotion Committee was formed to promote the industry. The committee was later renamed the Avocado Growers' Association Inc. and the Avocado Industry Council Ltd.

Today, New Zealand is the ninth largest exporter of avocados in the world, with 1800 growers managing 4,000 hectares. The industry is worth over $100 million per year and employs over 1,000 people. The majority of avocados grown in New Zealand are Hass with the main growing regions being Bay of Plenty, Whangarei, Northland, Far North, Auckland, Waikato and the Gisborne region.

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