One of the most popular fruits in the world is the wonderful Avocado. Over the last 10 years, the popularity of the fruit has exploded across the United States. With increased awareness we find avocados making their way into new recipes and dishes daily. Classified as a vegetable by the USDA, avocados are considered a fruit because they fit the botanical profile for a berry thanks to their fleshy pulp and large seed.
The Avocado is the fruit of a tree which is native to Latin American and the Caribbean. The Hass variety is the dominant and most popular due to year-round production, longer shelf-life and its rich, nut-like flavor.
“The Hass avocado variety is a California native. It was first discovered by Rudolph Hass in the 1920’s. Every Hass avocado in the world can trace its roots to that “Mother Hass Tree” in La Habra Heights, California”
Central and South American countries now dominate global avocado production, with the U.S. also being a notable producer. Mexico is the world’s leading avocado producer. US production is centered in California and Florida, and to a limited extent in Hawaii. Around 90% of U.S. avocado production originates in California, the majority of which is planted to the Hass variety. Californian avocados are produced and marketed year-round, although the peak growing season is from April to September. Florida typically grows Booth, Lula, and Taylor varieties, the Hass variety does not do well in Florida.
The U.S. has grown into the largest global importer of avocados. We now import around 14% of total global production. Over 98% of U.S. avocado imports are sourced from just three countries: Mexico, Chile, and Peru. Mexico, the world’s largest producer of avocados, has dramatically increased its avocado exports to the U.S. market. Mexico’s position in supplying the U.S. market reflects the growing popularity and the infrastructure farmers have put into place to meet the demand.
- The Avocado is an excellent source of healthy fat
- Half of an average-sized avocado has 4.6 grams of fiber, the most of any kind of fruit
- Avocados also have more potassium than bananas
- The avocado tree, once mature, takes 3-4 years to produce its first fruit
- When planted as a seed, the avocado tree takes 6-13 years to mature enough to set fruit
- One tree will produce on average 60 lbs. or around 150 pieces