In a landscape of shortages and shrinkflation, it’s not often that you read about food surpluses these days, let alone a surplus of an item many of us consider so precious. But somehow, in spite of everything, Philadelphia has found itself flooded with so many avocados that the city is literally preparing to give them away for free.
WHYY public radio reports that the giveaway, happening October 19-21, is being dubbed “Avogeddon,” and we have a feeling that the aftermath will bring enough guacamole to put even Chipotle to shame.
But how on earth did this happen?
Sharing Excess, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit, has made it a mission since 2018 to source excess food from grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers and redistribute it to those who need it most; the model, as the website puts it, is “using surplus to solve scarcity.” But the organization has recently found itself inundated with so many avocados, it had to do something drastic.
Supply chain issues—in this case, a glut—resulted in a massive delivery of avocados from South America to the City of Brotherly Love, and now food banks and distribution partners are basically bulging at the seams with them.
“We realized that we needed to do something bigger to be able to handle this massive surplus in a timely manner where the avocados are still good and able to be eaten,” Sharing Excess founder Evan Ehlers said told WHYY. “We reached out to the Friends of FDR Park [a large public park in Philadelphia] and they were kind enough to be down with this crazy idea of allowing us to take over a portion of their parking lot to host the massive drive thru distribution of these avocados, which are free for anyone and everyone to come up and get.”
The giveaway runs now through Friday, October 21, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at FDR Park each day. Get ’em before they’re too ripe.
Just how many avocados are there? A lot. Over 2,000 pounds of avocados will be trucked to the park, and Ehlers says they fill over 60 pallets. When’s the last time you’ve stood next to a pallet of anything? I assure you, that’s a shitload of avocados. The best part is that for anyone willing to come by, there’s no limit on how many you can take. (Fun fact: NASDAQ says that it takes 60 avocados to make a single batch of guacamole at Chipotle.)
Lines are long at the park, and the first day of the giveaway was a huge success; hopefully the avocados will make a ton of Philly residents happy. (Are avocados any good on a cheesesteak?) I wonder how many avocados would fit in my Toyota Camry, because I’m seriously thinking about playing hooky and driving to Philadelphia from Chicago right now.