Avocado, the 'butter of the forest'
Avocado (Persea armeniaca) trees grow to 10–20 meters high and bear large, pear-shaped fruits that have a green, 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 approximately 9,000 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 hundreds of small-scale farmers, all organic and fair trade certified, grow 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 eager to bring their farms to organic status so that they too can enjoy the same benefits as their neighbors.
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°C–8°C so the fruits can ripen. They are then washed, deskinned and destoned before the flesh is crushed to a paste. The oil is then stored in tanks for six to eight 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 on top of the farmgate price to improve the quality of their lives. One example of how the fair trade premium has been used is a bore hole dug by avocado farmer Simon Gathii, whose house was previously without any water supply.
Uses and benefits of avocado oil
Avocado oil is a semifatty oil rich in vitamins. It is high in vitamins D, E and B5 (pantothenic acid), but also contains various minerals, sterols and lecithin. The oil has a high monounsaturated level of up to 80 percent, indicating its high levels of omega 7 and omega 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 in crude or refined forms.
Contact EarthOil for more information
EarthOil specializes in smallholding producer projects in remote areas. We can help you access these communities and be part of their growth and development. EarthOil welcomes visitors to its projects and encourages opportunities to meet the people and see firsthand the communities where we operate.