Avocado VarietiesThe two most commonly sold varieties of avocados in the United States are the Hass and Fuerte, both grown in California. The Guatemalan Hass avocado, the most popular variety, has a thick, pebble-textured and purplish skin and usually weighs no more than 12 ounces. The Fuerte avocado, a Guatemalan-Mexican hybrid, has a more pronounced pear shape and is slightly larger than the Hass. It has a shiny, thin, dark-green skin with small, raised, pale spots. Florida-grown varieties, which are Mexican in origin and include the Booth, Waldin, and Lula, are larger, less costly, and more perishable than California avocados. In addition, they contain less fat and fewer calories and lack the rich, creamy flavor of the California varieties.
Distribution & botanical facts
The avocado, native to the tropics and subtropics of Central America, was first cultivated in the United States in the mid1800s in Florida and California. Ninety percent of today’s domestic crop of avocadosis grown in California. With a harvest of 168,000 tons, the United States is the second-largest grower of avocados in the world, behind Mexico at 718,000 tons.
The avocado tree, a popular shade tree in rural and suburban Hawaii, California, and Florida, is a dense evergreen that may reach a height of 80 feet.
Avocados do not ripen on the tree; ripening is inhibited by hormones produced by the leaves. This delay in ripening is a commercial advantage because the fruit may be left unharvested for long periods (up to 7 months). However, overripe avocados may seed internally and become moldy.