Where The Avos Grow

Who knew that GreenSkin® Shepard Avocados don’t turn brown when they’re cut? Or that every avocado has its own inbuilt Ripe Button®?
By Market Magazine

Robert Gray and Treena Welch from GreenSkin® Avocados know a whole lot about this delicious fruit, and they’re keen to spread the word. Based in the Atherton Tablelands in north Queensland, GreenSkin® Avocados is one of the largest producers in the country, growing, harvesting and transporting millions of kilos of fruit from their farms to Harris Farm Market stores in Australia.

In the Beginning

The beloved ‘avo’ has been gracing our tables since the late 1960s, when Australia’s first orchards started to produce. But it wasn’t until the 1990s that the very first Shepard avocados, with their smooth green skin and pear-like shape, entered the marketplace, thanks to the enthusiastic efforts of Robert and Treena. “The variety was first developed by a Californian farmer by the name of Stan Shepard,” Treena explains. “He was extremely proud of the variety, but was never able to get the trees to produce commercial volumes in the US. Lucky for us the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland provided the perfect growing conditions, so some trees were planted and the rest is history.”

In 2015, they teamed up with growers Matt and Louise Kleyn to form GreenSkin® Avocados. The partnership was all about a shared passion for marketing the perfect avocado to Australian consumers. “We simply wanted to give consumers the confidence to have an excellent avocado experience – every avocado, every time,” Robert says.

Today the company produces both the green-skinned Shepard as well as the purple-skinned Hass variety, according to season, meaning they can supply the Eastern Seaboard from January through to September. With new plantings in WA as well, their brands will soon become available 12 months of the year across Australia – look out for their labels GreenSkin Avocados® and PurpleSkin Avocados®.

From farm to table

GreenSkin® Avocados will produce a staggering 25 million fruit this year across Shepard and Hass varieties, and to do that they’ve developed a finely tuned, sustainable farming process. It all starts with the land, which is carefully selected, prepared and cultivated for the growth of healthy trees, all of which are raised as seedlings in their own nurseries.

As the trees grow and start producing, they are carefully managed, right down to the cell structure of the soil and leaves. To calculate the perfect time to harvest, the fruit are tested on-tree using an infrared Avocado Quality Meter, which shows when they’re at the perfect stage of maturity. The fruit are then picked by hand, graded by state-of-the-art equipment and carefully packed, before being sent to the ripening facility and then transported to the customer.

“Taking ownership of the entire supply chain is unique and this enables us to continually learn and innovate in ways that improve the outcome for avocado consumers,” Robert says.

Visit greenskinsavocados.com.au or check out Facebook and Instagram @greenskinavocados

The Shepard secret

The GreenSkin® Shepard Avocados are in peak season February, March and April. While the variety has been available for about 30 years, its unique attributes, compared with the more common Hass avocado, are not so well known. And the most exciting one is this – ‘the flesh of a GreenSkin® Shepard Avocado doesn’t turn brown when it’s cut’!

Inside, they offer a beautiful two-toned flesh, which is a rich, buttery, yellow colour in the centre, with a lime green rim around the edge. The flesh is dense and delicious, sometimes described as ‘nature’s own butter’. Also important to know is the skin of GreenSkin® Shepard Avocados stays green at all stages of ripeness. So to choose the perfect fruit for your needs, you need to learn how to distinguish their ripeness phase. (See How To Choose An Avo.)

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