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California coffee can be grown amidst avocado trees

Coffee can benefit from the environment within an avocado orchard.
Planting coffee shrubs right next to avocado trees is allowing a Central Coast farmer to grow a commercial crop of coffee without using any additional land, water or fertilizer, reported Parma Nagappan in

The farmer, Jay Ruskey was working with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources advisor Mark Gaskell when they had a "eureka moment," the story said. Coffee bushes can benefit from the environment created by an avocado plantation.

"I went through lots of cycles of plantings looking at options for using unused land," Rusky said. "Interplanting works for a lot of reasons, and coffee fits perfectly with avocados because it has similar nutrition requirements."

Americans' coffee is typically grown in tropical areas of Hawaii, and Central and South America. Gaskell, who worked with coffee growers for Central America for several years prior to joining UC in 1995, approached Ruskey with the idea of growing coffee in 2001.

“My job is to help small farms with problem solving, so I'm always looking for these kinds of synergies,” Gaskell said of the interplanting technique. “Commercial water rates are high, so ‘How are we going to get the most efficient utilization of land and water?' is at the back of every grower's mind.”

Gaskell said it is important to note that coffee also does just fine by itself in open field planting as long as it is irrigated. It doesn't require avocado interplanting for success, but avocado interplanting is an additional opportunity for coffee growing in California.

In 2014, Coffee Review rated Ruskey's coffee - sold under the name Good Land Organics - among the top 30 in the world.

The publication's top ranking of Good Land Organics has made coffee associations elsewhere sit up and take notice of the potential for a high-quality, domestic crop, the Take Part article said.

“All of a sudden I'm thrown into the spotlight of the coffee world because I'm a disruption, which is something it needs, because it does not have a lot of research going on, like with other crops,” Ruskey said.

Posted on Friday, March 13, 2015 at 9:12 AM
Tags: coffee (4), Mark Gaskell (11)


This exact process has been going on in Guatemala for decades. A "eureka moment" - really!

Posted by lawrence mallach on March 14, 2015 at 11:05 AM

Dear sir  
. I'm planning to farming Avacado plant in Asian country Nepal.It will be very helpful to me if you Advice me about the climate which is suitable for coffee is suitable for Avacado cause that land is best known land for coffee grown abd no one has ever plant avacado on that land.  
Thank you

Posted by Laxman Pangeni on August 10, 2019 at 9:58 PM

So it turns out that coffee and avocados can be grown in similar environments. Neither do well with freezing temperatures as many deciduous trees enjoy. Both avocado and coffee are perennial evergreens and want conditions that are not too hot and not too cold. In the case of better quality coffees and the Mexican and Guatemalan avocado races (Hass in a Mexican X Guatemalan cross) they dont like high humidity. So higher elevation coffee growing areas in Costa Rica and Colombia, Kenya,are also great growing areas for Hass. They also like similar neutral soil conditions and good quality water. Avocado is a bigger plant and can shade coffee. In some cases this can be good. They do have different cultural requirements and those need to be considered before interplanting them.

Posted by Ben Faber on August 12, 2019 at 8:38 AM

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