IF there was ever a time to buy an avocado farm, it’s now.
The latest research from Avocados Australia shows consumption has tripled in the past two decades. Aussies now eat 3.2 kilograms of the delicious fruit a year.
Noosa district avocado growers Geoff and Faye Fitzgerald have described the meteoric rise in demand for the produce as “amazing”.
“When we first started growing avocados nobody really knew what they were,” Mrs Fitzgerald said.
“Now, they’ve taken off. We’re getting the best prices we’ve ever had and we’re taking full advantage of it.”
It is forecast Australian avocado production will increase strongly to 100,000 tonne a year by 2025 to cater to local demand.
The Fitzgeralds farm 675 avocado trees of the Shepherd, Haas, Wurtz, Fuerte and Sharwillat varieties at “Sweet Haven” in the Noosa Hinterland.
The couple purchased the property 38 years ago but are now selling to pursue retirement plans.
“Sweet Haven” has been listed for sale with Jez McNamara who specialises in rural and lifestyle properties with Ray White Brisbane.
The lush, green property is 17 hectares (42 acres) in size.
The pair have enjoyed farming avocados on a part-time basis but said there is ample room to expand production.
“Depending on whether the new owner wanted to clear some bush there’s room to almost double production,” she said.
Mrs Fitzgerald said avocados weren’t a particularly labour intensive fruit to grow.
“The fruit can hang on the trees for quite a long time before they need picking.”
The pair market their goods through a growers co-operative on the Sunshine Coast called Sunfresh.
The homestead on “Sweet Haven” is a stand out feature of the property.
Made from local timber and sandstone, the Fitzgeralds designed and built the house themselves 38 years ago.
“It’s very relaxing – it’s filled with light and completely open,” she said.
“From wherever you look you can see the garden and surrounding bushland.”
Mrs Fitzgerald has built an impressive garden which includes mango, lemon, pear and orange trees.
“We had a friend stay with us recently – he’s a twitcher and he counted 93 species of birds on our property.”
Working improvements include two sheds, avocado processing equipment, bore, irrigation and three rain tanks.
“Sweet Haven” will be go under the hammer on June 2.
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