California heat wave threatens to make guacamole a July 4 no-show

As the Fourth of July holiday fast approaches, and menus are being created, millions of people may have to forego one of the staples of this most American of holidays.

Guacamole may be something of a unicorn dish, as Mother Nature has decimated California's avocado crop.

A recent triple-digit heat wave and record 30-mile-per hour winds have wreaked havoc on the trees, sucking moisture and causing the branches to dry up and the leaves to shrivel.

“We went into one area where we heard of temps hovering at around 114 degrees recently," Tom Bellamore, president of the California Avocado Commission, told Fox News Latino. "One of the growers told us he’d been there for 15 or more years and had never seen it that high.”

California growers have been battling water issues, labor shortages – not to mention a flood of Mexican-grown avocados – all of which are contributing to a terrible crop.

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“Growers are concerned about avocados now and next season," Bellamore said, but also pointed out that avocados are a hearty fruit and the tree offers immense protection. The trees stay productive year-round, and the avocados can stay on the tree for a year to a year and a half. Until you pick them, they don't ripen.

Which is why Bellamore isn't overly concerned about next year's crop.

"We’re seeing some fruit drop, but we have a good sized crop – around 400 million pounds – and [the weather] isn’t likely to impact next year’s crop, for now,” Bellamore told FNL.

Mexican avocados may pose a longer-term problem. According to the Los Angeles Times, an impressive 80 percent of those sold in the U.S. come from that country, but that doesn’t mean California avocado growers are suffering.

“In three of the last six years, we had our best year ever. When a season’s over we look at the value of the crop. We’ve had an excess of $400 million in the last 5 to 6 years, and yet the volume of import is higher. But it speaks to demand of the product. As long as demand is high, California will have profit.”