PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In a heartfelt letter on Instagram, Grand Central Bakery announced it will be “moving on” from avocados citing concerns of violence and other issues in Mexico.
The Pacific Northwest-based bakery, which has locations in the Portland and Seattle metro areas, told KOIN 6 News the decision was five years in the making. According to Grand Central Bakery, the product didn’t align with its values and message of sustainability.
As of March 31, the product was no longer on the menu.
“They environmentally take a ton of water to grow there,” said Robb Hengerer, Grand Central Bakery’s Portland cuisine manager. “They have become so popular and such high demand that there’s a ton of deforestation going on. The cartels are getting involved.”
Hengerer also cited the carbon footprint of shipping avocados to the Pacific Northwest. He said the bakery traditionally supports local farms and regional food sheds.
But what do customers think about the break up?
Feedback has been filled with curiosity, said Hengerer, considering employees are able to take the time to explain to them why the business is taking a stand.
“We know everybody loves avocados, but they’re problematic. A company like Grand Central has a fairly big impact on regional food chains, farms and farmers,” he noted. “Getting that message out there and putting our money where our mouth is — is important to us.”
For those fearing a loss of avocados at Grand Central Bakery, the business came up with a replacement: Garden Mash.
The substitute is made with fresh peas, white beans, olive oil, garlic, lemon and salt and pepper. It’s described as having the color and consistency of guacamole with the same creamy texture as avocados.
Grand Central Bakery hopes to reunite with avocados again one day, but it will be a “sustainable” relationship, said Hangerer.
“We’re planning on running some specials with California avocados when they’re in season… May to early August. Seeing avocado as a regional seasonal produce is the kind of switch we want to make,” he explained.
He encourages other businesses in the food industry to take the same stand. However, for the time being, Grand Central Bakery will be listing its relationship status with avocados as “It’s complicated.”