Notes from the Field: On an Organic Avocado Farm in Guatemala

Yesterday, I visited an organic avocado farm outside of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The lush and verdant tree growth along hillsides, leading to a waterfall springing into the valley below was incredible. Marco Cruz runs a cooperative of organic farmers in the region, and took us to Don Ricardo's farm, complete with corn, peaches, limes, herbs, and avocados for days.

Exciting to me is the potential for getting into business in places other than the USA, with the intention to put money into the pockets of farmers who otherwise would have turned their avocado trees that have passed on from producing, and give the wood a second life. With more money for the farmers, and the potential to work with local craftsmen and woman, and artisans alike, we might be able to evolve the vision of the Avocado Board from merely a serving vessel, to a socially + economically impactful kitchen tool.

For now, I will leave these images here, I hope you enjoy some of the beauty that we did.

Marco (left) and Jesse (right) looking on the opposite side of the creek to a hillside of avocados.

Marco (left) and Jesse (right) looking on the opposite side of the creek to a hillside of avocados.

Not quite ripe, these Hass are three months away from ripening on what is approximately an 8 year old tree.

Not quite ripe, these Hass are three months away from ripening on what is approximately an 8 year old tree.

Guatemalan avocado tree bark.

Guatemalan avocado tree bark.

Waxy tree leaves, oily and vibrant with a little bit of sun-flare, shooting towards the sun.

Waxy tree leaves, oily and vibrant with a little bit of sun-flare, shooting towards the sun.

Marco and me.

Marco and me.

RAW screenshot, getting on camera to talk for first time.

RAW screenshot, getting on camera to talk for first time.

Stumptown

I went to stump-town in Malibu, in search of some more great avocado wood.

This wood maintains an interesting history, for it was harvested anywhere between 3 and 7 years ago, courtesy of the fire department. Educators and locals who know about this stockpile of wood use it for firewood.

I interacted with a group of educators, making sure it was okay I traversed the near-hiking-trail area with permission. They warned me, to my surprise, of the fact that these piles of dead avocado served perfectly cool hiding places for rattlesnakes. In fact, they assured me there were tons of rattlesnakes that I should be very careful.

Great.

But I went to stump-town and came back with some avocado wood booty to fill the wagon up.

This was all free and legal, but I likely won’t be back again. Probably not worth the future risk. Besides, the kids are there trying to revegetate the orchard. Great community news!