Avocados as a health food has always been controversial. Is it good for you? Does it really have positive health benefits? This issue is still pretty divisive, but for a few places in Europe, there’s an even bigger problem with avocados. You might have to say goodbye to the fruit at popular restaurants like The Wild Strawberry Cafe, Wildflower, and Aniar.
Those joints are boycotting the avocado for very important reasons. There’s concern that the imports of “blood avocados” from Latin America are harming the environment and funding powerful drug cartels. According to The Guardian, avocado growers in Michoacán, Mexico “have had their land seized by drug lords who are reported to be earning £150m a year by selling the so-called ‘blood avocados’ to British traders.”
The owner of The Wild Strawberry Cafe, Katy Brill, decided to stop selling any dishes with avocado because of her concern with the ethics involved in importing, including the cartel profits. For her, this was controversial since the cafe would serve around 1,000 avocado dishes every week.
“Primarily I just felt that it didn’t fit with my ethos of using local food,” she told The Guardian.
The head chef over at Wildflower in London, Joseph Ryan, thinks the avocado ban stems from similar implications with quinoa. Because of quinoa’s popularity, it became too expensive for South American locals (where quinoa is from) to buy the grain themselves. He also thinks his inspiration with avocados has run its course.
At the Irish restaurant Aniar, chef and owner JP McMahon cites environmental impacts like air travel and deforestation as some of the reasons Aniar will not be using avocados anymore.
“We have enough products,” he tells The Guardian. “If you want the vitamins and minerals, kale is a good option. Celeriac, artichokes – they all grow at this time of year.”
For ethically-sound restaurants and foodies, it makes sense that buying more avocados doesn’t align with those values. And for those who are upset about their favorite restaurants getting rid of the fruit, think of the positive impact you’d have on others by joining the avocado resistance. The toast really isn’t worth it.