2 May 2019 – When it came time to decide to retire, American-born couple John and Patricia Repanich, now in their 80s, decided on the island of Vis where John’s roots are from.
In California, the couple were farmers and had sheep and also a walnut plantation, and when they decided to set up their new home on the island of Vis in Brgujac many years ago, they kept up the farming tradition by planting the first avocado plantation in Croatia.
“Once a farmer, always a farmer,” John told HRT.
Ten years ago, the Repanichs planted the first avocado trees on their land in the bay of Brgujac on the island after bringing 150 seedlings over from Sicily and it seems that the tropical fruit likes the mild Mediterranean climate of Vis, giving a generous first yield which is set to be ready for picking this autumn.
The Repanich’s are expecting around 400 avocados per tree to be picked.
“We will sell them at the markets, and after we will use some to make avocado oil. It is new technology, around 20 years old. The first press was in South Africa. Now you can buy similar machines and it is made similar to making olive oil.”
The avocado tree has its origins most likely in South Central Mexico. Commercially, they ripen after harvesting. Avocado trees are partially self-pollinating. Mexico produces over 30% of the world supply of avocados.
John says that his plantation has become a bit of an attraction on the island with lots of people coming to Brgujac to check it out.
You can see the Repanich story on HRT here.