There's no other way to say it folks, and you know the web producers over at NBC 11 have been waiting years to write this headline: 'Holy Guacamole! Third Of California Avocados Gone.' According to emergency officials, 20,000 acres of avocado trees (one-third of the state's $1.5 billion industry) have been claimed by the raging wildfires in San Diego County. And the loss will extend beyond this year's crop because, unlike many other fruits and veggies, avocados grow on aged trees, which take 15 to 20 years to mature.
NPR is more reflective on pronouncing losses, saying it's too early for a definitive number, but that one-fifth of the orchards are in burn zones. Meanwhile, the California Avocado Commission is scrambling to ease fears about the predicted global avocado shortage, saying the reports of 20,000 acres burned are an exaggeration. In any case, you can expect to pay at least a little more for that Super Bowl guacamole.
-- Brian Bernbaum