California Avocados Starting Up
We are just starting to see organic California Hass avocados on the scene. The season starts in January/February in San Diego and works its way north as each area of California finishes their harvest and another area begins. The beginning of the year is when the California Hass avo must pass the minimum allowed level of oil content before being picked. This is no way means that the flavor is good nor does it represent the California Hass we have grown to love and appreciate over the year.
The trees are full of fruit and in order to continue to size and produce, the tree needs to be relieved of their burden of fruit to make room for the next more flavorful picking. The oil content will develop as they mature with each harvest. For example, Hass avocados from San Diego will taste the best earliest in the year, think April/May. As the months go on avocados from the central coast and even farther north will develop the high oil content and flavor we expect from a California avocado.
The cycle of maturation, no matter where avocados are grown in the world, means the early crop can have irregular ripening, rubbery texture, low oil and very little flavor. We will have a small quantity of California Hass available now but if you are picking for flavor we recommend the Mexican Hass avocado.
If you are committed to buying a California piece of fruit there are other varieties in season not to be missed. This is not a comprehensive list but are some of our favorites in season now.
Bacon– Oval shaped with shiny thin skin and a light flavored yellow-green flesh. They are easy to peel and the perfect complement to a citrus salad.
Fuerte– Used to be the most popular avocado in the 1950’s. The medium sized pear shaped fruit is easy to peel and has smooth green skin that stays green after ripening. The flesh is a creamy pale green with a light smooth taste that goes well with salads. Think spring mix, fennel and grapefruit.
Zutano– The earliest winter variety. Pear shaped with shiny, yellow-green skin and light tasting flesh. Try cubing it and adding it to tortilla soup on a cold winter night.
Future blogs include understanding how to buy a better tasting avocado by making choices based on seasonality and geography. Each year the timing is different and we will explore how extreme weather can have a major impact on ripening and availability. Continue to follow our blogs as a new year of the California Hass avocado unfolds.