| Freeze Procedures
During the winter months of December, January and February, even California's Mediterranean climate can bring weather cold enough to cover avocado trees and fruit in freeze or frost. When a freeze occurs, avocado fruit can be salvaged if the internal and external damage is not severe. Steps to follow during a freeze event are:
1. Contact your Index Fresh fieldman concerning market conditions. Historically, only the Hass variety has been marketable after a major freeze event.
2. Working with your fieldman, determine if a salvage operation for freeze-damaged fruit makes economic sense. All fruit salvaged after a freeze must be legally mature.
3. The Avocado Inspection Service of California’s Department of Food and Agriculture will inspect freeze-damaged fruit and requires the dumping of avocados that do not pass inspection. The following guidelines should be used during a freeze salvage operation:
• Avocados with bronze-colored skin will not pass inspection.
• Avocados will be cut 1" below the stem end and 1" above the blossom end and be disqualified if: ten or more vascular bundles are discolored, the flesh is water-soaked or discolored or if there are any internal voids in the flesh.
• During harvest, avoid fruit with brown stems. Fruit with one half inch of green stem immediately above the fruit is acceptable.
• Fruit with green stems may drop seven to ten days after the freeze. This fruit has lost much of its storage and shipping life and should not be picked up.
4. Freeze-damaged fruit received by Index Fresh will be inspected by the state. Fruit that passes inspection will be graded, packed and accounted for using our normal procedures. Fruit that does not pass inspection must be dumped under California law.
5. Payment for freeze-damaged fruit will be made in the same time frame as non-freeze-damaged fruit.