It may be 25 years since Australians first started smashing avocado on toast, but North-West avocado grower Paul Bidwell sees there are bigger things to come for the crop.
Mr Bidwell and his wife Maria moved to Tasmania from Western Australia in 2009 with a view to downsizing their avocado operation.
But Avoland’s success in the island state has meant that has not happened.
“We grew avocados from the late 1980s in Western Australia. We got in long before avocados became really popular,” Mr Bidwell said.
The couple planted their first avocado trees at North Motton in 2010, and now have just under three hectares planted out with more than 1200 Hass trees.
This season they produced 50 tonnes of avocados in Tasmania’s cool climate, which is more than double the national average of between 20 and 22 tonnes from a similar area.
“The industry average is between seven and 10 tonnes per hectare,” Mr Bidwell said.
“We came here to semi retire and downsize, but we’ve gone back to a commercial operation,” he said.
While it is not unusual for Tasmanians to have avocado trees – Dick Shaw’s Spreyton crop is what inspired the Bidwells to grow the fruit here – the North-West’s climate and soil has helped them grow top quality produce.
“We loved the North-West’s rich basalt soil and thought Tasmania would be a nice place to plod along and supply local shops and farmer’s markets.”
“It is just a stunning, successful environment that is making it work,” he said.
One of the benefits of Tasmania’s avocado crop is that the fruit can be harvested at full maturity, even while new fruit is setting.
“We can carry two crops on the trees. We harvest in December and January and the new-season crop is growing at the same time.”
Mr Bidwell said the flavour and oil content of Avoland fruit was better because they were allowed to ripen for longer.
“We can allow our fruit to reach full maturity compliments of the cool climate,” he said.
With the potential to grow such productive crops, and the ability to produce high quality fruit, Mr Bidwell said the state could become a big avocado producer.
“I think Tasmania has a great future for avocados,” he said.
And it is not just Bill Granger who would agree.
Mr Granger might have been the first to smash the fruit at a Sydney cafe, but Rodney Dunn from the Agrarian Kitchen, at New Norfolk, could not speak more highly about Avoland’s crop at Fine Food Australia 2018 in Melbourne earlier this week.