Do You Know Fuerte Avocados?


fuerte avocados

Beautiful Fuerte Avocados from California Avocados Direct

Have you tried Fuerte avocados?  I love the Fuertes and wait all year for them to be  ready to eat  in the winter months,  between December and March.   If you live outside of southern California you may not find them in the stores.  This is because they have a thinner skin and do not ship as well as  the Hass variety.   The  rich, nutty flavor of the Fuertes  is so special that avocado-philes are learning where they can order these beauties … fresh  from a family farm in California!

The Fuerte avocado was actually the variety that started the whole California avocado industry.  In 1911, a 21 year old  American named Carl Schmidt traveled to Puebla, Mexico, which is 80 miles east of Mexico City.  He was searching for the best quality avocados so that he could take some bud-wood from the trees to grow better trees in the United States.   A nursery in Altadena, Ca. had hired him to find the budwood so it could be grafted onto root-stock to grow high quality trees in California.  He cut budwood from the best trees,  numbered the pieces and shipped them home to Altadena.  Most of those buds did not adapt well to the soil and climate in California,  but the piece labeled #15 grew strong.  It was able to survive the great  freeze of 1913 in California, and so it was given the name “Fuerte”, which means “strong” in Spanish.  That one special tree was the beginning of the avocado industry in California.

Cutting and Peeling a Fuerte avocado

Cutting and Peeling a Fuerte avocado: Perfection!

If you like flavorful avocados, you will love the Fuerte.   A large Fuerte can weigh up to a pound, but usually they are 8 to 12 oz. in size.   Fuertes  look like elongated pears, and the skin is a beautiful grass-green with some darker speckles mixed in.  The fruit itself is pale yellow with a smooth, creamy texture.  Fuertes are less oily that other avocados,  but the flavor is very rich and nutty.  Earlier in December they won’t have as much flavor as later on in January or February, as the fruit matures.


Fuerte and Hass Avocados

Can you tell which one is the Fuerte?

Fuerte avocados were once the top variety, but were displaced in the 1930’s by the newer Hass variety.  Hass has a thicker, bumpy skin that can be rolled and handled without as much risk to damage.   For this reason, Hass avocados can be shipped great distances in quantity.   The avocado industry has gradually shifted to Hass as the most marketable variety.  Hass avocados are shipped into the United States from other countries such as Mexico and Chile.

Our Fuerte trees are beautiful…the branches grow into interesting shapes, and the new growth on the trees can include some gorgeous colors.  Natural art!

Fuerte trees

Beautiful older Fuerte trees make a magical forest!

So are you disappointed that you can’t get Fuerte avocados in stores?   If you are a person who really loves avocados,  you owe it to yourself to try the Fuertes!  They are often found in Farmers ‘ Markets in southern California, but the ones I’ve seen in the markets have been very small.

We’ d be happy to ship you some Fuertes while they are in season.!  Just run over to our e-commerce site at California Avocados Direct.   You can get a subscription for the Fuerte season, or sign up for the whole year, including the Hass and the Reed varieties too!  It’s just like having your own avocado tree!

box of avocados from California Avocados Direct

Gift Box of Fuerte Avocados from California Avocados Direct (photo by Tamara Moravec)





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  1. Thanks Mimi,
    I remember these Fuertes from growing up in SF Bay Area. They were always the best. Then they disappeared! Have missed them.
    Maybe I will order some from you then.

  2. Been thinking and researching about Hass vs Fuerte. Since Fuerte is a California grown fruit, it would seem more desirable than fruit from Mexico. So what exactly happened (in 1972?) that made Hass be the one avocado? What do you mean standardized?

  3. Thank you, Mimi
    My goodness! What a story about Hass. Thank you for enlightening me. I do probably eat 7 pounds of the green gold per year.

  4. My grandfather planted his first Fuertes in the late 30’s traveling from Long Beach to Leucadia CA every weekend to plant more. I still like Fuerte fruit better than any others waiting til they are ready to drop. My grandfather also planted Dickinsons, Nabals, Anaheims, Examinas, Helens and Reeds- his great experiment. 30 years later it only made sense to graft everything to Hass. most California fruit was being shipped out of state. New York City was a huge market. The thicker Hass skins preserved the fruits better in shipping. I can still picture my dad and grandfather grafting the trees one stump at a time over 3 years/ 3 acres. I grew up in Oceanside CA in 2 acres of avocados mostly Anaheims which are watery almost to the point where they are drops. It was family picked every year and sold to produce buyers in LA. Later my Father had 6 acres of Hass in San Luis Rey (Bonsall) CA. He spent every day in the grove doing maintenance. Until he was in his 60’s he was still picking his own fruit.

    I don’t have room to grow avocados except for one Bacon planted close to a year ago. It lost all it’s first year blooms but is very healthy, growing rapidly with fresh lucious leaves everywhere. I’m in Escondido.

    • Hi Doug, Thanks for your comment. Nice to hear local avocado history. I like Fuertes the best too. We had to graft most of the non-Hass varieties, but in the last year or two we have planted more of the different varieties (not Hass). People who order our gift boxes enjoy trying those varieties.

  5. Hi Mimi,
    Where are you located?

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