You can’t grow money, but you can grow avocados. And that’s pretty close.
I’ve developed a peculiar, but useful talent
It started in December, after a trip to Hawaii for my brother’s wedding. Just in front of the balcony of our rental was a 40 foot mature avocado tree, heavy with thousands of thin-skinned fruits. When avocados are $3-$5 a pop at the green grocer, foraging for them is like finding money.
Even our full house couldn’t use the ten or more that were falling each day. What we didn’t eat was enjoyed by the feral chickens. Or taken with me as a pre-flight snack.
The neighbour wasn’t even interested. He had his own productive looking suburban orchard. I offered him some and he just shook his head and chuckled at my haul of green money fruit, ‘Oh, that tree‘. Imagine a life where you have all the avocados you could eat.
How to spot an avocado tree
Back in Sydney, I can’t stop spotting avocados trees. It helps to know what they look like. Look for large trees with straight, light coloured trunks, long green leaves, and dense, haphazard canopy. Often spotted near fence lines or on verges. Taking slower forms of transport means you’ll have time to size up each potential specimen. The most telltale sign is shiny green fruit up in the canopy, or on the ground.
The best time to plant an avocado tree is seven years ago
Planting the seed of an avocado is either an act of good planning for the future or a bit of a novelty, depending on your climate. An avocado tree in Vancouver has about zero chance of producing avocado toast, but people still get a kick out watching them sprout and will keep them as houseplants. Odds are better here in Sydney. In fact, there are more than five mature trees within two blocks of my address.
I’ve planted a few seeds myself. Good things take time, and avocados are no exception. I’ve been asked why I would plant something that might take seven years to bear fruit. An understandable question, programmed as we are to instant gratification, short lifecycles and let’s be honest, frequent house moves. And the answer I give is that I might just be here in seven years. But even if I’m not, someone else will be.
After all, building community is about doing something to benefit someone you may never meet. What helps you, helps me too. Also, this tree is a year and a half old now, so seven years is now only five and a half years from now.