Things That Matter

Apparently There Are Three Feet Long Avocados Called Long Necks And Like Please Take All My Money

Avocados, much like the feminine form, come in all different shapes and sizes. Most people’s perception of produce is limited to what we see in the supermarket, but avocados are just as diverse as Latinidad. This week, people on the internet are losing their minds over a little known, slender, meter-long avocado known as the “long neck.” Just to be clear, 1 meter is about 3.3 feet. Now that’s more bang for your buck and lord knows we need it with these babies. 

Avocados have become the luxury fruit of millennials coping with the existential dread of President Trumpito, climate change, stagnated wages, and expensive healthcare. Sure an entire Avocado is $1.99 and an entire loaf of bread is $4.99, but the world is ending so who cares if I spend $15.00 on avocado toast? Guacamole is extra? Everything is extra, my guy! It’s 2019 if I want to fill my tub with hundreds of avocados and bathe in their robust omega fatty acids while the world implodes, don’t judge me. We may never pay off our student loans, but at least we have avocados. 

These long neck avocados are popping.

When Miami Fruit shared a photograph of a massive, long neck avocado on Facebook, users were stunned by its unusual appearance. However, the Facebook page assured their following that the avocados were locally popping. 

“The avocados are popping off right now,” they wrote. “South Florida farmers grow dozens of unique varieties not common in any other part of the mainland USA.” 

She’s organic and GMO-free, baby! 

Long neck avocados, also known as Pura Vida avocados, are grown in Miami but they aren’t typically sold commercially. South Florida is home to about 50 different kinds of avocados. (but I find it problematic that not one is shaped like an exact replica of Celia Cruz). Farmers grow long necks organically and without any genetic modifications. That means mother nature made these puppies grow over three feet, not science. 

The hearty gourd is originally from Nicaragua and their seeds are coveted all over the world. 

According to Miami Fruit, folks “even travel the world looking for seeds to bring back to the states to try to grow. This variety, in particular, originated in Nicaragua and is now grown small scale here in South Florida by fruit enthusiasts.”

Yes, you can buy these even if you don’t live in Miami. 

For a cool $47.00 – $197.00 you can buy an entire box of these avocados. If you’re cringing at the price, the boxes range from 3 to 45 pounds. Hey, it’s a bargain if you ask me, that’s the cost of half a slice of avocado toast here in New York City. 

Yes, supermarkets have a diversity issue!

While there are literally hundreds of different kinds of avocados, Hass avocados are overrepresented in supermarkets. According to the USDA, they make up roughly 95 percent of the market.

Let’s keep it 100 for a second.

Avocados are delicious as hell, and as Latinx people, they’re often a staple in our cultures. The United States relies heavily on avocados imported from Mexico. Nearly 80 percent of the avocados we eat come from south of the border. According to Reuters, in April, within a week of the Trump administration’s threat to shut down the Mexican border, as an immigration and asylum deterrent, avocado prices surged 50 percent. Moreover, the cruelty of the immigration policy itself hurts Latinx farmers and laborers domestically. Nearly half of all farmworkers in the United States are undocumented according to the Department of Labor. Farmers are now grappling with labor shortages due to this country’s legacy of racist immigration policies. With threats of ICE raids targeting anyone who looks Latinx, I wouldn’t show up for work either. 

Each time you eat an avocado, it is likely that a Mexican or Latinx person worked on the farm it came from. All of the things we take for granted were willed into existence by someone somewhere. Too often that person is exploited, oppressed, underpaid, and brown. So yeah, let’s talk about how dope avocados are, but let’s not forget about the people who made them that way. 

The Cartels In Mexico Are Taking Over The Avocado Industry By Any Means Necessary

Culture

The Cartels In Mexico Are Taking Over The Avocado Industry By Any Means Necessary

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Mexico has always been plagued with violence, but the new government under Andrés Manuel López Obrador implied things would be different. The violence in Mexico seems to be getting worse. One minute the cartel is blocking authorities from arresting El Chapo’s son, and the next, an entire family is ambushed and killed. The cartels in Mexico do not seem to be slowing down one bit. Now it looks like they are taking over the avocado industry. 

A group in Mexico that goes by the Viagras cartel is illegally taking over land in order to plant avocado trees.

Credit: @Faby_Nava77 / Twitter

According to reports by the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press, a small group of armed people known as the Viagras cartel is infiltrating parts of Mexico. They are allegedly taking land that is not there’s, and that is, in some areas, protected land, and setting up avocado trees in order to produce avocados and sell them. 

“The threat is constant and from all sides,” Jose Maria Ayala Montero told the Los Angeles Times. According to the outlet, Ayala Montero works “for a trade association that formed its own vigilante army to protect growers.”

Local police are attempting to do something about it, but they basically have their hands tied

“They’ve done everything – extortions, protection payments. They’ve flown drones over us,” a local police chief told the AP. “They come in and want to set up (drug) laboratories in the orchards.”

The tension is not just coming from the Viagras cartel that wants to set up shop on land that is not theirs, but also from rival gangs that also want a piece of the multibillion-dollar pie. 

Credit: katelinthicum / Instagram

According to reports, in the state of Michoacan alone, the avocado export business brought revenue of $2.4 billion last year. We always knew avocados were hot, but not that kind of hot.  

“If it wasn’t for avocados, I would have to leave to find work, maybe go to the United States or somewhere else,” Pedro de la Guante said to the AP. De la Guante makes a good earning as a guard for a small avocado orchard. 

The demand for this coveted fruit has been growing considerably in the last decade. As the Associated Press reports, “It was only in 1997 that the U.S. lifted a ban on Mexican avocados that had been in place since 1914 to prevent a range of weevils, scabs, and pests from entering U.S. orchards.”

Here is why avocados in Mexico are in such high demand.

Credit: Unsplash

Aside from avocados being people’s favorite indulgent e.g., guacamole, avocado toast, it’s actually tough to grow avocados. Mexico’s temperatures make it ideal for growing avocados compared to anywhere else in the world. 

According to SFGate Home Guide, Mexican avocados “contain the highest oil content and taste the creamiest,” while avocados from the West Indies “have the least amount of oil but grow to the largest size. Now, Guatemalan avocados are also ideal because they are a combination of both Mexico and the West Indies. So according to that methodology, Mexico’s avocados seem to be the healthiest kind to eat. 

Lastly, Mexico’s weather is perfect for growing avocados because they “stand up to the coldest winter temperatures.” So you can see why there’s so much demand to get those Mexican fruits.  

People definitely have feelings over the violence and illegal tactics of the cartel who look to get those avocados by any means necessary.

Credit: @Eeeeeeemonster / Twitter

If the cartels succeed in hijacking the avocado industry in Mexico, it won’t be long till some of the avocados bought will benefit and fund the cartels.

The fight over avocados speaks to a larger issue of the food industry and how it’s affecting not just the economy but sustainability and the environment.  

Credit: @tsalagip / Twitter

While the cartels might be vying for the “green gold,” the matter of taking over land that does not belong to them and using it illegally on protected land shows how dangerous these tactics are hurting people’s lives and the environment. 

The fighting seems to be taking over all industries.

Credit: @elizabethgilcel / Twitter

It’s not just about drugs at all. 

How will the government deal with this issue if they can’t even handle the violence over drugs?

Credit: @brianeha / Twitter

If government agencies in the U.S. or in Mexico stop trade because of the illegal means to export avocados, it could have a drastic effect.

READ:  Apparently There Are Three Feet Long Avocados Called Long Necks And Like Please Take All My Money

40 Thousand Pounds Of Avocados Fell To Their Deaths In A Texas Truck Accident

Culture

40 Thousand Pounds Of Avocados Fell To Their Deaths In A Texas Truck Accident

@ciboloPD / Twitter

We all know how expensive avocados have become so some news out of Texas is really upsetting for hipsters and abuelitas across the country. Interstate 10 in central Texas was closed for several hours while officials cleaned up 40,000 pounds of avocados, which, sadly, did not make it to our homes to be far more lovingly smashed into guacamole. According to the Cibolo Police Department, two trucks collided, and Satan allowed for the empty truck to remain upright, while precious cargo was senselessly sacrificed without cause.

On this Day of the Dead, we would be remiss if we did not include the collective mourning Twitter is experiencing from this great loss. No humans died, by the way.

If our rudimentary calculations are correct, that means 106,666.66 avocados met their end on the side of the interstate.

Credit: @TamarahBryan / Twitter

According to Live Science, a single Hass avocado weighs about 6 ounces. With 16 ounces per pound, 40,000 pounds is equivalent to 640,000 ounces. Divide those ounces by the average weight of an avocado. The exact calculation is 106,666.66667 avocados lost.

The road was closed for 13 hours after the accident.

Credit: @ciboloPD / Twitter

The Cibolo Police Department alerted its residents via social media, saying “At 12:41am, two truck tractor-semi trailers were involved in a major accident. A box trailer full of avocados overturned causing the cargo box to tear open. Several thousand avocados littered the Eastbound lanes of IH-10 at mile marker 599. The second involved big rig was a tanker which remained upright. IH-10 eastbound is currently still closed pending scene clean up. Traffic is being diverted off the main lanes at mile marker 599 and can re-enter at mile marker 600. We will update when the eastbound interstate is back opened. Expect several more hours before complete.”

While their message was all business, their hashtags seemed to reflect that they don’t understand the holiness of avocados: “#fiberhighway #pitsinpits #hearthealthy #whynotdonuts.” My question exactly. Why not Donuts?

Once traffic opened up, the police department joked to “#GuacInPeace.”

Credit: Cibolo Police Department / Facebook

The Texas Department of Transportation arranged for crews to clean up the Interstate. Nobody knows what happened to the avocados. They have either been disappeared or else the local dump has become a gold mine. Don’t act like you’re not above eating avocados that have touched the road. #NoAvoLeftBehind

Some folks left joking comments on the Police Department’s Facebook requesting exact GPS coordinates to “help” with the cleanup. A witness of the tragedy commented, “I drove past the aftermath. What a tragic waste of good avocados gone to guacamole smeared all over the highway. :<“

Thankfully, no humans died, though two were seriously injured and transported to the hospital.

Credit: @racsiv27 / Twitter

“Two occupants, to include the avocado truck driver, were transported by EMS from the scene in stable condition. A third vehicle, a passenger van, was also involved and driven from the scene,” Cibolo Police Department’s Matt Schima told CNN.

Many folks were concerned that the incident would further raise the already increasing cost of avocados. One Javier Chaparro commented, “Seriously!?!? Does the driver know how expensive they are!?!? Wth!?” Someone else guessed, “That’s like, 10 million dollars worth of avocado.” Someone else joked that they were going to “::runs to pick up avocados::” before the prices skyrocket. It’s too soon to say how this accident will affect the daily lives of local Tejanos.

When struck with tragedy, this woman turned pain into haiku.

Credit: @Jessjones327 / Twitter

The unimaginative half of Twitter is taking the opportunity to exclaim “Holy Guacamole!,” but we know there was nothing holy about this incident. We applaud you, Jess Jones, for not saying “Holy guacamole!” Sometimes, a simple heartfelt emoji will do the trick. Moe’s Southwest Grill even replied to a news report of the incident on Twitter with a simple “😢.”

On this Day of the Dead, we mourn the loss of 26,666.666 family-sized guacamoles that might have lived on at the foot of an ofrenda.

Credit: Cibolo Police Department / Facebook

Or… y’know. In us. Again, note the number of “666”s. This was the loss of an otherwise holy celebration of family, culture, and the coveted avocado, increasingly being held in our hearts and wallets as a Golden Goose Egg. Tejanos, stay vigilant. Maybe follow your local Police Department so we make sure these avocados get into the right hands, Avocado forbid, there be a next time.

READ: California Is Fighting Off 14 Fires Across The State Claiming Thousands Of Acres And Displacing Thousands Of People