If you live in Maro, indeed anywhere along the coast here, you are never far from an avocado tree.
Many people who live in our village, farm the campo land, ( as well as their regular jobs), and most grow avocados, a sub-tropical fruit which loves the climate and location here ; hot sun and well-drained soil .
We are sheltered by the mountains, have sloping fields that run down to the sea, fresh spring water that is channelled into the campo for irrigation, and warm winds blowing over from North Africa.
Avocados were originally brought to Spain by the Spanish from America, and 97% of the total production of avocados in this country, are grown here in Andalucia.
It is now of course a very `fashionable` fruit, favoured for its nutritional content . Gone are the days of `Avocado vinaigrette`, as a starter in restaurants, bring on `smashed` avocados on toast with poached eggs for breakfast. So that avocado you have just enjoyed might well have been picked here in Maro.
The most popular variety grown here is Hass, which is more productive, and therefore more profitable, and it has a dark green, bumpy textured skin.
Although I am surrounded by avocados here, and we are given dozens of them regularly, I learned all this today ,over a glass of wine and tapas in our local bar talking to our friends, as they rubbed their sore backs! Because now is the time to pick them for `dinero`.
Our friends Ana and Vicente grow avocado trees ( 45 of them), in a portion of Vicente`s father`s (Vicente senior) campo plot. Today was the day for harvesting. A beautiful sunny day too. They were up early to go to the campo. Hard work, and each full tray of avocados weighs about 21 kilos, so back breaking too.
Their trees yield about 600 kilos, ( Vicente`s avocados are very large he tells me!), and they are all exported to Europe, via a fruit and vegetable packing company in Algarrobo, (owned by a Maro family who live a few doors up from us), which is a few miles along the coast.
Green gold indeed.