Saturday, May 12, 2007

"Avocado buds + Barry White + Moi = sustainability of a species" or, "The Ramblings of an Insane Person"

I'm quite concerned about the bee crisis. Not because I eat so much fruit or have a particular love for honey (neither of these is the case, though E loves both), but because I am obsessed with avocado. LOVE IT. Is there a better fruit? It's good with everything: shrimp and rice and meat and cheese and -- well, clearly not all of these things at the same time.

I was discussing this with my friend T and told her that I was willing to hand-pollinate the avocado trees if it became necessary. She laughed at me and said, "what are you going to do, blast some Barry White and skip through the orchard?" Yes, T, I will do whatever it takes to ensure I have all the avocado I'll need over the next few years.

So what would hand-pollinating these trees actually entail? E's challenged me to do some digging and really find out.

1. Clearly I need plane tickets to where the avocado trees live. According to Wikipedia, avocados can only be grown in the following places: Spain, Israel, South Africa, Peru, Chile, Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, US (California, Florida, Hawaii), The Philippines, Malaysia, Mexico and Central America. While most of these countries are on my To Visit List, time and money are of the essence. Therefore, I will choose one place inside the US and one place overseas to visit (best not to put all one's pollen in one basket). I will choose California (accessibility) and Malaysia (because I love the food, natch).
  • One round-trip ticket to CA: $362
  • One round-trip ticket to Malaysia: $3,285.01
Excellent. Savings depleted. It's all for the greater good, though!

2. I must assemble a list of necessary supplies. We'll just pretend I don't need anything special for travel to South East Asia for simplicity's sake (who has time to think about inoculations? And visas? Pheh.).
  • Bee Suit
  • Barry White CD(s) -- any suggestions?
  • Sun hat and sunscreen
  • Guac ingredients (we must show the avocado trees the wonders that await its success)
  • Comfortable shoes for skipping
3. I need to work out an SOP for pollination. My understanding is that bees fly up to a flower in order to drink its nectar, and the pollen sticks to its head, legs and little bee face in the process. The answer is clear to me: I must develop a Bee Suit that is sticky enough to trap pollen, but that is light enough and breathes enough to keep me from overheating in Southern California and Malaysia. Once this is done, I will simply climb the avocado trees, brush past as many leaves and buds as possible and repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

Avocado tree flower by marjesb14

Listen, people. Let me know if I forgot anything (other than my sanity, that is). Possibly you have other music suggestions? Or are a scientist and have come up with a better way of saving the nation's agriculture? Or have I skipped a vital step?


Anonymous said...

Though I would love to see the bee suit, there might be an even easier route.... Perhaps a dwarf avocado tree?

Granted it doesn't preserve avocados for the rest of the population. At least you would have enough guac to turn you green... sort of like the Hulk.

Of course it's hard to tell if this dwarf tree is for real. They claim it is self-pollinating, (which would unfortunately not require the bee suit)...

Perhaps only the commercial variety of avocados are not self-pollinating since they are grown from grafted trees. Who knows? This interesting little pamphlet on avocados can provide more information...

Anyway... please post us a picture of the bee suit when you have it. This might give you some ideas of where to start...

Though this one might be less revealing...

... and this one would be good if you were bringing along some small children...

E said...

I think you thought of everything there! (except, the E link does not work...) But, let's confirm first that you are not allergic to bees, in case any are going to fight you for the pollen. Are you? If so bring a few epi-pens. Good luck. And remember, you owe me some 'cados when you return.

johanna said...

or maybe if people were using organic/natural bee keeping techniques, we wouldn't be having these problems:

LibraryChristi said...

Seriously, one of the funniest things I've read recently! See? You are funny!

If you buy my plane ticket I'll go skipping with you :)