Friday, August 28, 2009

Florida Avocados

I can't even tell you how much I hate Florida Avocados. I think they're an utter travesty. I really do. They're too big. They're mealy, watery and flavorless. They have nothing on Hass Avocados, which are pure heaven with their thirty percent fat content.

It really irritates me that I have to live in Florida and that I have decided to do this local eating thing here, in the place with the inferior avocados. I mean, it just figures doesn't it? Because avocados may well be my favorite food. I'm not kidding you. I could eat a Hass avocado every single day of my life. But they aren't from around here, those black, pebbly skinned wonders. Nope. I get the bright, green, shiny skinned Florida version. Typical to most things in South Florida, Florida avocados are all flash and no substance. They look big, voluptuous, glossy and emerald. They're much, much prettier than the dull, bumpy Hass version.

I've always thought that Florida avocados were like strippers. They look great on the outside. They've got the glitz and glam image, but inside they lack any real substance. They're absolutely tasteless. The Hass avocados though are littler, dark, rough on the outside. They don't look like much. They could be the frumpy librarians of the savory fruit world. Then you cut one open and you find it's miraculously full of depth. Rich and complex, buttery, the Hass is the kind of avocado you could marry.

I've said it before, regarding the whole issue of apples, that I am a spoiled brat. I'm used to having whatever I want, whenever I want to eat it no matter the cost to local farmers or the environment. I don't want to be a spoiled brat anymore. I need to try to give up Hass avocados and really try to love the Florida avocado. One of the most popular varieties of Florida avocado is the "Lula" which honestly, even sounds a bit exotic dancer-ish, though more in a cool, retro Burlesque show kind of way. Maybe I can learn to live with it.

My sister brought some Florida avocados over to dinner one night. I was horrified. I'd always seen them at the store and wondered who bought them. Apparently there are some saintly folk who actually prefer them. Many people like them because they're lower in fat and calories. I actually came across one marketing campaign where they had renamed the poor things "Slimcados" and were trying to get people to buy them like they were "Avocado Lite" or "Diet Avocado." I can't explain how much this annoyed me. It was really stupid.

My sister made a simple salsa with her Lula. It contained nothing more than avocado, pineapple, scotch bonnets, red onion, salt, pepper and lime juice. It was really good. She had let her avocado really ripen. It was quite soft and I noticed that this developed the flavor and helped the flesh to be less watery, which is what I had always found so distasteful about our local variety. It wasn't mealy either, something else I can't stand.

Maybe, I thought, I could do this. I'm trying to make the switch. I think the key is to buy the smallest Florida avocado you can find and let it get nice and ripe. They're in season now, so I'm really working on this. I think I can learn to love them.

Here is a good article in Cooking Light about avocados which mentions the Florida avocado, of course, last.

Here is a very informative site about growing your own avocado tree, which to me sounds like a great idea.

13 comments:

  1. I also love Hass avocados but there are many different types grown in South Florida that I haven't tried yet. Erickson Groves in Canal Point grows about 5 varieties so you might want to check with them.
    I bet there are some that are really good. Tell me if you find one.

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  2. I've found Florida avocados frustratingly weak and watery too. I keep meaning to mash one up, wrap it in cheesecloth and press it like tofu or yogurt to see if I can condense it into something more palatable.

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  3. Have you tried those Michigan avocados? They're delicious. And the ones from Kansas? Utter heaven!

    Your rant about Florida avocados is ridiculous. There's no such thing as a Florida avocado. There's hundreds of avocado varieties each suited to where it's grown. Hass happen to grow well in California, larger ones here in Florida. And it's a matter of personal preference. Brazilians I know hate Hass avocados because they grew up with the "Florida" (as you call them) avocados. They also use avocados as dessert (with sugar, in shakes, etc.).

    So seriously, a tirade on Florida because it can't grow Hass avocados is like going off on Mississippi for not being able to grow good pineapples or Arizona for not having excellent tomatoes.

    Because I like your blog I'd like to end on a positive note. Try one of the "Florida" avocados, like the lula, in a salad with sliced starfruit, olive oil and salt. Then let me know if a Hass would be better with that!

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  4. Why would you care so much that I don't like avocados grown in Florida? And lots of people call them Florida avocados. They call them that in the grocery store. Everyone I know calls them Florida Avocados and when you buy them they're usually not labeled as the variety that they are. In fact, I've never seen them labeled as anything except Florida Avocados. And I still can't stand them. I will try your recipe and let you know once the carambolas come in season.

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  5. I'm a transplanted Californian living in South Florida who also prefers the taste and texture of a Hass avocado over the local Florida version. Here's some good news for you...I found one type of local avocado thats real good, its called a "Brogdin" avocado. Almost looks like an eggplant with a black/purple skin and a similar shape. They are available at local fruit stands in late summer early fall. Its a hybrid Florida avocado mixed with a Mexican type, great for gucamole.

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  6. There are LOTS of great 'Cado's that can be grown in Florida. The ones you find in the stores are, imo, the least desirable and are available to the masses because they are the most shelf stable. But, as pointed out, the Carribbean regions and most S American's prefer the "florida" varieties. As "anonymous" pointed out, Brogdon's rival Haas' in buttery flavor and texture necessary for good guacamole. They are not commercially viable, because they are thin skinned and bruise easily, so you won't see them in stores. You can find them at many nurseries however...or even better, find a neighbor that grows one.

    I will also note that I have recently seen a "Florida Haas" variety popping up. It has only been in the last few years. I have friends that swear the taste and texture is almost indistinguishable from the California variety. Industry reports show that it does have a slightly lower oil content, though, probably because of the difference in climate and soil.

    I say, you can have your cake and eat it too. Just do a little research and either buy one of the tasty 'Cados that can be grown in Florida or find a local grower. I found one in Tampa that grows specially for local, drive by pick and eat....$1.00/pound. I can eat them every day of the week!!!

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  7. Florida has good tasting avocados. Unfurtunately our grocery store chains buyers have no clue on how to buy.
    In the event you want to grow your own I would recommend:
    Early Dupuis (hard to find not a big producer)
    Mid Summer Catalina. Great taste
    Russell mid summer
    Late Nov to Jan Monroe. You see this in Publick but you would have to know what it looks like. Very tasty.

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  8. I think that before start criticizing the avocados u need to know what type of avocado u like and stick with it! let the other be...

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  9. I live on the southern east coast of Florida and I LOVE avocados. I enjoy Florida avocados sliced and eaten in various ways, they are o.k...like most veggies.

    However, I absolutely drool, devour and will drive 10 miles out of my way for Haas avocados when I want them smashed into gaucamole! I love them. I started researching why I could not have a haas avocado tree growing in south Florida and found out they do exist. I have lived here my whole life and have never seen one that I know of. The trees may all look alike for all I know. Apparently there is a Florida Haas avocado that supposedly is just as flavorful, creamy and consistent with California and Mexico Haas, but has 20% less fat because of the soil differences. I have been trying to find a grafted Florida Haas avocado tree and have been told that the end of September, early October they are usually in stock but disappear fast. I am counting the days.

    Is anyone remotely familiar with these trees and their fruit? Thank you!

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  10. I've just moved to Florida and was initially very decided to see the "Florida" avocados on the shelf. They were only $1.40 a piece. On the other hand, the Haas were a whopping 2.50 a piece. So I bought the Florida kind and tried it... And I have to admit, the exact same things you said in your blog went through my mind. I read this out loud to my husband and he thought it was oddly coincidental to what had previously said. Needless to say, I won't be buying those particular avocados again. I will be keeping my eyes peeled at farmers markets for some better varieties.

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  11. "Typical to most things in South Florida, Florida avocados are all flash and no substance." I think you should do yourself a favor and move as fast as you can. That being said...

    Flavor is a matter of prefference. In south Florida there are two types of avocados I know of, the big green shinny ones which are AWESONE. and the dark purplish skinned shinny ones, those are really watery and have not flavor at all.

    I am from a latin american country and have been eating avocados all of my life and to my taste there is no better avocado than the Florida avocado, is like eating butter.

    You can find the hass avocado here in south Florida when the local one is not in season and we in the house absolutely hate it. We just do not buy it. It so small its laughable. Here is Florida it is the "we do not have any other choice" avocado.

    There is nothing better than a plate of Florida avocado with thinly sliced onions on top, olive oil and balsamic vinegar ans salt. Restaurant in south florida even have it on the menu.

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  12. Wow, so much emotion over Avocados.

    Try the Florida Hass and I think you will find it much to your liking.

    Peace.

    Jason

    http://www.pepesplants.com

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  13. What type of government financial aid or benefits are available for hass avocado growers?

    Do you have any information or where to find it

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