Avocado – Butter of the forest
Avocado (Persea armeniaca) trees grow to 10–20 m high and bear large pear-shaped fruits which have a green-skinned, fleshy body and a leathery green or blackish skin, a large stony seed, and a greenish-yellow edible pulp. The avocado was first grown in Mexico about 9000 years ago. The Aztecs named the avocado ahuacatl which means “butter of the forest” because of its high-fat and nutrient-dense properties.
Earthoil’s avocado oil comes from the Thika region of the Kenyan Highlands where there are hundreds of small-scale farmers, all organic and fair trade certified, growing avocado trees. Each farmer has between 1 and 50 acres of avocado trees, predominantly the Fuerte variety, with each tree producing 75-300 kg of fruit per year depending on the age of the tree. Field officers work with these farmers to ensure that organic practices are followed. Many more farmers are keen to bring their farms to organic status so that they too can enjoy the same benefits as their neighbours
How the oil is produced
The mature avocados are picked from the trees between April and September, and brought to the processing facility where they are placed in a cold room at 6-8°C so that the fruits can ripen. They are then washed, de-skinned and de-stoned before the flesh is crushed to a paste. The oil is then stored in tanks for 6 to 8 weeks to allow the waxes to settle.
Fair trade fund
The small, family-owned farms have flourished after being instructed in the use of organic growing methods and are now helping to raise their standard of living. A fair trade premium is paid to the farmers but unlike Earthoil’s Fair for Life premium which is paid into a community fund, the premium here is paid directly to the farmers to improve the quality of their lives. This is unusual but the farmers are so spread out that there is no real “community” for meaningful projects. One example of how the fair trade premium has been used is a bore hole dug by avocado farmer Simon Gathii whose house was without any water supply.
Uses and benefits of avocado oil
Avocado oil is a semi-fatty oil rich in vitamins. It is high in vitamins D, E & B5 (Pantothenic acid), but also contains various minerals, sterols & lecithins. The oil has a very high monounsaturated level of up to 80% indicating its high levels of Omega 7 and 9.
Avocado oil is used as a base product in many skin and hair care preparations because of its vitamin E content. It is a useful, penetrating nutrient for dry skin and eczema and is well known for its nourishing, healing and regenerating qualities for damaged skin. It is commonly used in creams, lotions, body butters, sun care products, hair oils and lip balms. We are able to offer this organic oil as crude or refined.
Contact Earthoil for more information
Earthoil specialises in smallholding producer projects in remote areas and can help you to access these communities and be part of their development.
Earthoil welcomes visitors to its projects and to meet the communities. Contact us for details.