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. Love the information. Thanks. cj

  2. Very educational and interesting. Mimi, I am going to download copies for my sisters who enjoy your Fuertes so much. Al Collingbourne

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  8. Mimi– When will my duarf fuerte tree start to bloom? Don Farrell

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  10. Hello I have a Fuerte tree that is about thirteen years old. I bought as a small tree at a farmers market. I got my first avocado’s last year and until then I did not know what kind oif an avocado tree I had. I got four magnificent avocados. There were many tiny ones early on but all fell off but four. The four are beautiful. I have eaten one and will eat the second soon. It is aout April 10th. My question is. I was told they only flower every other year. No flowers this spring. Is this tree that they flower every other year?
    My second question is do I need to plant another tree? Is a Fuerte an A or B? Oh Oh I guess I asked three questions. Take you pick.

    • Fuertes are usually in season during winter. I hope you haven’t waited too long to eat them! Yes, trees can be alternate bearing…taking every other year off. You should have some bloom…just not as much. You don’t need multiple trees.

      • My Fuerte tree has mature fruit on it…ready now to harvest and ripen. However, in the last 2 months, it flowered again and now has a second crop of avocados that are about 2 inches. The mature fruit is not dropping. Should I harvest the mature fruit so the second crop will thrive?

        • Fuerte avocado season is Dec. through Feb. If your Fuertes are still on the tree, eat them now! Yes, you need to harvest last year’s crop so that the tree can support the new crop. Fuertes flower in Feb-March-April and the new fruit is forming now. That fruit will size up and be ready to pick in December. Usually we wait to enjoy our Fuertes until January when the flavor is fully developed.

  11. Hi Mimi,

    I am totally new to planting. I bought a small avocado tree. Can you help me to verify whether the tree I bought is a Fuerte?

    Please reply me so that I can sent you a picture of the leaves.

    Thank you,


  12. Thank you for replying. When will you have Fuerte avocados for sale?

  13. I’ve had a Fuertes tree for 5+ years and I was told that it should bear fruit after the second year. After 5 yrs. I was ready to take it out. It would get blossoms, fall off, and no fruit. Now, in it’s 6th yr. it’s finally got 2 avocados. It’s Sept. here in So. Cal. and they’re about the size of a baseball. Should I pick them or let them go till Dec. as you suggest?

    • Your Fuertes will not have enough oil content (maturity) to soften when picked right now. They won’t be ready to eat until December. The State of California determines the date when avocados of various sizes and varieties can be sold, after testing for oil content.

      Just make sure the tree has plenty of water during the heat spells…we don’t eat our Fuerte’s until January or February when the flavor is good. Hope this helps.

    • The larger Fuertes (size 40) will pass oil content on Oct. 27, 2015 but the flavor will be better if you can wait another month or more.

  14. I have a Fuerte in my front yard in San Fernando Valley, grown from a pit from a neighbor’s tree. It is now over 15′ tall and producing abundantly. Two year ago, I had no more than 1 or 2 fruits, which the squirrels destroyed. Last year, it was suggested that I drive 2 or 3 nails into the trunk, which would stimulate the tree to produce (fact verified by several avocado growers). I did this, well into the producing season and…surprise…the tree produced, for the first time, 2 dozen avocados. This year I have over 100 avocados maturing on the tree. Just sharing the hint on how to stimulate a non-producing avocado tree.

  15. Thx mimi all my questions were answered about my 3 year old fuerte tree by your responses.

  16. We have a giant Fuerte avocado tree in our back yard. Probably planted in the late 40’s or very early 50’s. This year is the best year ever with what seems like 1,000 avocados on it. We always started picking them in mid to late October, but after reading the comments here I guess we will have to wait until December or January to get the full flavor. I love the subtle nut like flavor.

    • Hi Jerry! If you find one that has fallen on the ground, see if it gets soft and try it out! A big Fuerte fell off a tree near our house and I was tempted to go get it, but the hot weather ruined it quickly!

    • Jerry, Beginning Oct. 27, 2015 Fuerte avocados (size 40) will pass oil content according to the state of California. This means your larger avocados will soften and be edible. The flavor will be much better if you wait, but if you need to get some of the larger fruit off your tree, you can safely do it beginning on the 27th.

    • Hello Jerry,
      You have a great tree. My aunt has one of that same time line. Yet the last couple of years has been less fruit. Do you live close to the coast with good moisture levels? She doesn’t. She is hoping this year gets better. Thanks, Angie

      • I just saw your question today. Sorry for the two year delay. We live about 7 miles from the Pacific Ocean.

  17. Hey, I want some Fuerte avacados. I can’t seem, to find them in the few Farmers Markets I’ve tried in the Pasadena. How do I buy them from you?

  18. Hello,

    I have an avocado tree grown from a seed taken from a fuerte. It’s 6 year old, 3 inches in diameter at the base, and has many many branches, two of which are approximately 10 feet tall. I live in San Diego 8 miles from the ocean. Today is 3/23/16 and the tree again has not flowered, it has never flowered. I have two questions:

    1. What time of year should I expect to see this tree flower?
    2. Is it true that I might have to wait nearly a decade more for it to flower?
    3. If I grafted a proven producing fuerte scion onto this tree, how many years would I have to wait for it to flower?

    Thanks in advance for any help you provide,



    • Hi Miles, The answer to all your questions is “it depends”. Since your tree is grown from a seed, it is probably not really a Fuerte, but the ‘root stock’ that the original tree was grown on. Avocado trees begin to bloom in late winter/early spring. Our Fuerte trees are blooming now. Some bloom earlier than others though.
      The tree should flower depending on how healthy it is — do you feed it? (use 15-15-15 fertilizer) We test the leaves and the soil to make sure we give our trees the optimum nutrition. Tree needs plenty of water, as you know.

      If you want Fuerte avocados, I would suggest buying a real Fuerte tree (try Claussen Nursery in Vista) or just buy the avocados to eat. Your tree probably needs to be grafted, but it isn’t guaranteed that the graft would “take”. We have grafted Fuerte trees to Hass and not all of them survived.

      Sorry I can’t be more definite — avocados require science AND art.


    • Miles: I have a mature Fuerte in my yard, grown from a pit which I got from my next-door neighbor’s tree. My tree would not produce. My sister learned from an avocado grower that, sometimes, you need to “injure” a non-producing tree by driving 2-3 nails into the trunk. I did that and, the next year it produced over 100 fruits. This is, now, the second year and has produced over 250 fruits. Please feel free to research this suggestion online. You will find several sites and publications that make the same recommendation.

  19. Where can I buy FUERTE avocados? I live in Roseville, ca.
    when I checked on line it is either a tree or only HASS that is available for shipment in a box.

  20. Is there a dwarf Fuerte? I would buy a tree to container it. We have freezing so need to store it inside

  21. Can Fuerte avocado tree grow in a big container to manage its size? Will it bear fruits?

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  23. I have seen one just once at a grocery store in South Carolina. As an avocado lover, I tried one, and it was so good! I hadn’t seen one since then, so it’s good to know that they are on sale online!

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  25. My Fuerte tree is now 5 years old. It has finaly produced a lot of big avacodos this year. The problem I am having is they take forever to ripen. Then they ripen unevenly. Some of the avacodo is soft and some of its hard. I live in southern CA.
    Am I doing something wrong? I have picked some in Jan and Feb. Since this is the
    first year its produced could that be the problem? Will next year be better. Thanks

    • Hi David,
      It sounds like your Fuertes are immature and not ready to pick yet. Our Fuertes are taking a long time to soften now too. We picked a few in late Dec and found out we were too early….same in January. Only the largest fruit were ready. I would try one or two each week. Fuertes just love the rain and should be sizing up with all the free water we’ve had lately. As they hang on the tree, the oil content will increase too, creating that delicious flavor and the ability to soften in 7 days or less. Then it’s time to start eating!

  26. I live in Riverside CA. My Fuerte tree is 8 years old and I’m having the same problem as David. It’s the end of Feb and the fruit ripens unevenly. The small end is very soft while the large end is still rock hard. This is not a problem in Orange County, at least not with the Fuerte tree I know. I never experienced uneven ripening and fruit was always safe to pick end of Feb. Do you suppose the inland area climate delays the season ? I’m wondering if my picking season is going to be March-April.

    • We tasted one of our Fuertes the other day and a part of it was still hard. Not every piece of fruit will be perfect. If ALL the fruit on your tree does not ripen uniformly, then something may be wrong with the tree. It could have been stressed. Trees are like people in that way…if the tree gets stressed due to too little water, too much water, or other conditions it won’t perform well.

      • Hello Mimi,

        My avocado crop turned out well after all. I was so concerned about uneven ripening. Turned out they just needed a little more time on the tree. Wish I had room to plant more trees !!

  27. We had two Fuerte avocado trees in our backyard when I was growing up & I have always wanted one. We finally have a big enough yard for two trees & after 5 years we’re getting some avocados. I’m so happy! We live in Rancho Mission Viejo, CA & my grandchildren call me Mimi also.

  28. I have two fuerte avacado trees that I bought from a nursery.They were 24inch box and about 5-6 feet tall. It has been about 5 months and they are probably close to 9 feet tall.My question is, should I prune the top to slow the growth so that the trunk will thickens up.Im concerned that they are are getting too tall for their trunk size.

  29. I have a Fuerte that I purchased this summer that has grown from 3 1/2 feet, to now about 6 1/2 feet tall. I made sure to protect if from getting sunburned, and properly fertilized it as it was growing this summer/fall. With the latest growth, it seems like something is eating lots of the leaves. Lots of holes in newer leaves, and chunks taken out as well. Not sure what the sudden cause of this would be, but are there any known insects this time of year in the Los Angeles area that are known to dine on leaves? If so, any recommended treatment? Thanks!

    • It sounds like you have “loopers” – we have to spray for them. Go to your local Ag Supply (here in Escondido it is Grangetto’s) and ask for something to spray on your tree.

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