California Backyard Avocado Harvest Makes for an Attractive Farm-to-Table Photo Story

As summer fades to a distant memory, so too does the color green. Branches become bare. Leaves burn out in supernovas of yellow and red. Slowly but surely, root vegetables and whatever fruits that you managed to freeze or can before the first frost take center stage…

The changing seasons looks a little different in sunny southern California, where there’s no need to pull heavy winter jackets out of storage. In the Golden state, the summer’s end marks the end of the window for growing Haas avocados. Dive in as we tackle the best ways to capture the story of this strange fruit.

Unlike most fruits (you heard right – avocados are actually a type of berry!), avocados do not begin to ripen until they’re detached from their tree. For this reason, it’s actually recommended that you keep them suspended on branches until you’re ready to eat. While Mexican strains can grow year around, California avocados aren’t quite hardy enough to make it through the winter. If left hanging for too long, they’ll eventually rot.

But the end of avocado season isn’t all bad. They provide the opportunity to incorporate some green onto your plate – even in the dead of winter. A refreshing treat capable of cooling down the hottest plates, more and more people are happy to incorporate this chartreuse superfood into their fall and winter menus. Which, in turn, means that an

avocado harvest makes for an attractive farm-to-table feature

 

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california back yard avocado harvest

For those venturing into their first backyard photo shoot, there’s a few things worth keeping in mind. Firstly, it’s important to

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Avocado camouflaged in tree

never underestimate the smallest details

For instance, the images above don’t explicitly show the avocado harvest. However, they serve a purpose by placing viewer in the tangle of the trees branches. Though they may not tell an entire story individually, they ultimately help to paint a more vibrant picture.

Another useful tip is to

hone in on anything that makes your story unique

In this case, gathering avocados is easier than said than done, as the trees can grow between 20 to 40 feet high. This requires farmers and cultivators to get a bit creative. My friend used a wire fruit picker not entirely unlike a lacrosse stick to avoid the trek to the tree tops. The moment I saw this unusual device, I pressed the shutter instinctively and wound up with some eye-catching images

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Yawning Dog

As a side note,

don’t be afraid to include happy accidents

If a yawning dog just happens to pop into your frame, roll with it. Most audiences are drawn further into stories that have something a little out of the ordinary to offer.

It’s also worth taking a moment to

consider the colors and shapes of your surroundings

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california back yard avocado harvest

For this photograph, I was able to use the long yellow pole of the picker to breakup the greens dominating the rest of the composition. In addition, strategically consider your camera settings when building a composition. Depth of field, for instance, can direct an audience’s eyes instantaneously. A narrow focal point can also effectively draw attention away from distracting background elements – a helpful tactic for those working in the field.

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Narrow DOF Avocados on grass

When moving into the kitchen, don’t forget that

texture can be an instant attention-grabber

The bumpy skin and crinkly leaves of the fruit featured in the image above convey a sense of how the avocado might feel if you were to reach out and touch it. The grainy wooden surface beneath adds an extra layer for the eye to explore, further strengthening the shot. Furthermore, if you can make your environment pertinent to the greater story, that’s all the better.

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Avocados on tabletop

Here’s an example of what I mean. All avocados emit a small amount of ethylene gas. Over time, this causes the flesh to soften. By placing a few avocados together in brown paper, you can speed up the natural ripening process by concentrating the gas in one space. Based on this tidbit of information, posing your avocado harvest with a brown paper backdrop can further strengthen your story.

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Close up avocados on brown paper backdrop

Lastly, regardless of the story you’re capturing, try to include a variety of views with the tools you have available. Wide angles can provide context of place. Up-close details can be incredibly effective at breaking the monotony of wider, more expansive shots.

Just like written stories, photo essays require a beginning, middle, and end. A natural way to sign off is to show food subjects on the plate.

Get creative with your presentation

The pink radishes pictured here emphasize the green of the avocados. As an added bonus, a finished dish can naturally segway readers towards a related recipe or article. Bon appetit!

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Radish Avocado bowl

Have a farm to table story of your own? Share it with us! Sign Up with Phoode Creatives and upload your farm-to-table food story for the chance to have a feature of your own!

Farm to Table Food Photography

The farm-to-table movement is growing at an exponential rate. After years of enduring factory farms and unpronounceable preservatives, many of us are eager to support local businesses that share a more intimate connection with the food they’re vending. While we enjoy sharing the stories behind what ends up on our plate, that not entirely what this segment aims to accomplish. Instead, we try to impart photographers with ideas and advice on how to go about shooting journalistic farm to table food photography. From aesthetic tips to advice on how to approach new subjects, our goal is to help you tell the best story that you possibly can. There’s a story behind everything that we eat. CLICK ON