Reed Avocados: Things To Know

| 87 Comments

ReedHalfIt’s October, and here on the avocado ranch we’re eating Reed avocados.  Have you ever tried a Reed?  Have you ever seen them in a store or farmers’ market?   If you have, you know that Califoria Reeds are one of the largest,  creamiest, and most delicious avocados in the world!   We look forward to late summer and early fall every year because that’s the time to eat the Reeds.

{6/19/2014  Added Note: Our 2014 Reeds are early … ready to eat in June already!}

ReedTreeWe used to have lots of Reed trees, but we cut many of them down and grafted them over to Hass variety.   After they were cut to a 4-5 foot stump,  a tree specialist made a slice into the tree and implanted a piece of bud wood from another tree.   In this way we were able to use the root system already established, but grow a new tree of a different variety.  We were sorry to say goodbye to so  many beautiful Reed trees, but we had seen that the Hass variety was preferred by consumers and would bring us a better price.

It is expensive and labor-intensive to grow avocados, so we need to make enough money to pay for the water, fertilizer, and care throughout the year in order to stay in business.  Reed avocados were just not popular enough to bring a good price. In the photo you can see the difference between the tall Reed tree and the shorter young Hass tree that  was grafted onto a Reed stump.  Hass trees like to spread out and become rounded in shape unless they are planted close together…then they will grow tall and form a canopy.   Reed trees like to grow straight up, and don’t form a canopy as easily.  It’s fun to walk up to a Reed tree because often there are avocados within arm’s length to pick!

BabyReedsThis year’s crop of avocados are ready to pick, and next year’s crop is already growing on the tree!  Can you see the tiny ones in the background?

NewGrowthReedAs the baby avocados grow bigger, the tree puts out new growth like an umbrella to shade the new fruit from the sun.   Avocados bloom in the spring,  then the tiny baby avocados begin to grow.  It take all year for the fruit to reach full size and maturity so that it will ripen after it is picked.  The Hass variety of avocado is ready to pick from December until late summer.  These are the pear-shaped avocados with the bumpy skin that you probably see most often in the stores.   Reed avocados are not ready to eat until late summer…July through October in southern California.   When  all of our Hass avocados have been picked,  we know it’s time to start eating the Reeds.

 

Reed-AvocadoA Reed avocado is very creamy.   The skin is thick and leather-like.   To find out if a Reed is ready to eat, hold it in your hand and gently press your thumb.   It will not feel rock hard, but will “give” just slightly.  It “gives” less than other avocados with thinner skins,  so it’s easy to wait too long with a Reed.  They don’t turn black when they’re ripe either…so it takes a little practice to learn when a Reed is perfectly ready to eat.  A skill worth learning!

IMG_4811Late in the season, the fruit is very mature…higher oil content means the fruit is creamier,  the color is a deeper gold, and sometimes the root has already started growing out of the seed!  When the root is already growing like this one,  balance the seed over a  glass of water so the root can get a drink and watch it grow!  (push some toothpicks into the side of the seed to hold it on top of the glass)

IMG_4813One of the most exciting things about Reed avocados is that they come with their own bowl!    The skin is so thick and strong that you can mash the avocado right in the skin, using it for a natural bowl!  This has to be one of Mother Nature’s greatest accomplishments!  The ultimate fast food!  Just add salsa, or some seasoning…and dig in!

ReedAvocadosonTreeAren’t you glad you know something about Reed avocados now?  You may see them in stores like Whole Foods in September and October.   You will also find them in farmers’ markets in southern California.  A large Reed avocado can make enough guacamole for several people,  or provide sliced avocados for burgers and sandwiches.  Since they’re larger than other avocados,  we often eat only a half at a time.  Even if the leftover half turns brown on top,  just slice off the brown and enjoy the rest of the avocado underneath within one day or so.  We’re having them on hamburgers for lunch! Wish you were here to join us!

ReedonaBurger

 

P.S. and for breakfast:

Weekend Egg on Toast with California Reed Avocado!

EggandAvoonPizza

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

87 Comments

  1. Love Reed avocados, such a special treat with their short season. I call them my “butter avocados”, I eat them straight up in their cute rouund skins~
    Thank-you Mimi, for such an informative article.

  2. I learned a ton from your post – thanks, Mimi!

  3. Now you’ve gone and made me lusting over Reed’s. I hope Whole Foods has them. I have one left from the ones you gave me, but I need more, they are oh so good.

  4. I discovered these beauties a few years ago, and we love them!! Hard to find though, but I do manage to find a few at the farmer’s market. Yes… I’ve let mine get too ripe in the past, but we’re learning!!
    Kim – Liv Life recently posted..Vanilla Extract (Essence) Update and DIY Sweet Vanilla SugarMy Profile

  5. Mimi – thanks for sharing your Reed avocados with me today – I can’t wait to try them sliced on my favorite gluten-free bread with some olive oil and sea salt. That’s one of my favorite treats, and your Reeds are gorgeous!
    Lisa @ Whisk & Cleaver recently posted..Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie BitesMy Profile

  6. I can’t wait to bite into the Reed avocados you gave me. My family couldn’t believe the size of these beautiful avocados!
    Laura @ Family Spice recently posted..Join Me at the Sharp Women’s Health Conference {Giveaway}My Profile

  7. I didn’t know that this type of avocados existed! I would consider myself a huge fan of avocados, but I guess I really don’t know much about the different breeds of it.

    I do see a lot of the Hass types at the grocery stores. They’re good, but I do find some of them to be on the smaller side sometimes.

    You really got me when you said that the reed avocados are the largest avocados. The more, the better I guess! I especially love creamy avocados because I sometimes substitute it for butter in baking or cooking.

    I don’t know how much difficulty I will have finding these. I think I will need to pay attention and look for them at some specialty grocery stores.

    • Since Reed avocados have a shorter season than Hass, you will probably not find them outside of the southwestern US. We have seen them at farmers markets and at Whole Foods markets.

  8. My mother & aunt gave my husband a reed tree. We have 2 hass tree’s also. It’s so nice to have 2 seasons of avacodo’s. I was very surprised how good the reed avocados were. We didn’t have any idea when the reeds were ready to pick, until I Google the reed tree. Thank God I did. They are so good.

    • You are so fortunate to have a Reed tree! I agree with you…they are sooo good!!

      • Hi Mimi,
        I just moved to the central California Coast and have a Reed avocado tree in my backyard! We moved into the house last November and it did not take long for me to figure out how amazing these avocados are. Is there anything special we need to do for the tree. It is very large and I think it has been there for awhile. Our house is restored, originally built in 1908. It is wonderful. Thanks for any tips. I have never had fruit trees. Thank you,
        Linda

  9. I just planted a 3 foot Reed. I look forward to enjoying these for years to come!

  10. Pingback: My Most Favoritest and Previously Secret Guacamole Recipe | @christiiineeee

  11. Pingback: Maine Lobster Meets California Avocado! - Mimi Avocado

  12. Love reeds. Best avocados EVER!!!

  13. I live in So Cal in a small house with a small backyard, but I’m so glad to have a Reed tree. This is the first year where I will have next year 43 avocados. Yes I count them when I go by. My granddaughter which is 1 year loves them and she eats them every day. I also have a Haas tree on the other side of the house which produces every second year. I don’t know why, but the tree doesn’t looks that healthy. Not comparable to my Reed.
    I discovered this year for the first time in our local Produce store Reed avocados. I recommended them to a customer and she was very excided to get information about an avocado which is not very known. I’m looking forward o harvest and enjoy them again.

    • Hi Erna! Avocados are known to be “alternate bearing”…one big crop, then a smaller crop. Your Hass tree may be having trouble with the water, which could be higher in salts due to our drought and the fact that the water we get in So Calif is coming from the Colorado River. I’m glad your Reed tree is doing well! Reeds will be ready in the summer!

  14. I love your blog!!!!! Tons of helpful information.
    The pictures are amazing. xD
    Thank you very much for sharing.
    Best wish.

  15. Hello Mimi, have you ever eaten a Sir Prize avacado and can you compare it to a Reed, Hass, or Fuerte. I have heard it is a cross between a Hass and Fuerte???
    Thank You
    Joe

  16. Hi Mimi: Great informational article. I am in the process of purchasing an avacado tree, either a Reed or Lamb Haas. I read that the Reed’s are susceptible to pests more so than the Haas variety? Any thoughts? Also, my dirt in the backyard is very hard, any suggestions before I plant? Thanks.

    • I’m not the farmer…just the farmer’s wife! I do know that avocados need well-drained soil, preferably on a slope. I’m not aware that Reeds have more pest problems than Hass. We used to have many more Reeds than we do now.

  17. Does anyone know where to buy a Reed avocado tree? We’re in Berkeley, CA. We have a Gwen & a Bacon and want to plant a Reed.

  18. Thank you so much for all the great info!!! I need help, I have a avacado plant I started from seed, and I want to buy a Reed avacado plant now, I have no idea how to graf them? Or I would be very happy to pay someone to do it, using my plants. I ave called local nurseries, and no one here with do it. I live in San Francsico area.

    • Grafting is a very specialized skill. Most grafters will do many trees at one time…and we usually have to sign up in advance to get a grafter. I doubt you can find a professional who will do one plant. To do it yourself you would need “bud wood” from a Reed tree. You would be much farther ahead to buy a Reed tree to plant.

  19. Hi Mimi, great article and I couldn’t agree more – the Reed is the best of all avocado variants we have ever had here in Melbourne, Australia. We are fortunate enough to have a fruit & veg store near that stock Reed’s for most of the year and that’s the only variety we look for.They are grown in sunny Queensland but I haven’t lost hope to have Reed tree in our backyard one day – haven’t found the seedling supplier yet. Melbourne climate is probably close to San Fran. It’s a sad state of affairs if you didn’t have enough customers for your Reed crop and had to chop the trees but I’m no longer surprised: when our U.S. – based relatives visited us in Melbourne they discovered that avocado should be eaten fresh and not taken out of the plastic tub sold as avocado mash !

  20. Thanks for the great information, I can’t believe people prefer Hass over Reed avocados. Reeds are the best! Do you know how their calorie count compares or is it the same for equal quantities?

  21. Hi Mimi, I grow 17 avocado trees….14 varieties. I do love Reed very much. Here in Ventura County….would they be ripe by say Sept 1? thanks

  22. I love the Reed variety.
    But I can seldom find it. So when I do I will buy up to ten of them.
    And I have never had one go bad in the skin.
    Every year they make me wish i had planted several trees a long time ago.

  23. Just as a question of curiosity… Was it the difficulty in accurately determining the Reeds peak point of ripeness that caused the average avocado consumer to shy away from them, and return to a more understood and predictable variety such as Haas… or was it strictly based on the old adage,”You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”…?

    • Reeds are a summer variety, only available for a few months. Hass have a much longer season, and are easier to hold in a cooler, making them better than Reeds as a fruit to ship and distribute through grocery stores. Hass has become the industry standard variety for a number of reasons. When it became legal to bring Mexican avocados into the USA, many acres of Hass avocados were planted in Mexico, plus Chile and Peru. The demand for avocados has continued to increase in the USA, with consumers recognizing Hass avocados as desirable and high quality.

      Some people still know about the other varieties, such as Reed, Fuerte, Bacon, etc. During the summer season we ship our Reed avocados all over the USA to people who know what they are, love them, and want them enough to special order them from us. You probably will never see Reeds in supermarkets across the USA though.

      Does that help answer your question?

  24. We just bought a home in So Cal with a large Reed tree out back. We moved in 4 months ago, last November. There were HUGE avocados on the tree then, and many high ones remain. Are these last years crop? Or do we need to wait till end of this coming summer? Our kids have picked some of the lower one. They took weeks to soften and looked a little sunken in once they were edible. Taste was right, though! Any advice?

    • I doubt that the avocados you have picked are mature. Reed avocados are ready to eat from mid to late June through September or October. They bloom in the spring, so that avocados that are on your tree now could be the 2016 crop. Don’t pick them until June/July! Reeds have a shorter season than Hass — they are round like soft balls, so it’s easy to tell the variety by looking at them.

      • Okay, thank you. The ones on there now are the size of a very large softball. They have been there since last November. I was confused when I thought about them needing a year to mature. Buy the way, they were that large when we bought the place.

  25. Hi Mimi,
    Many thanks for your helpful information. I am from Dalat – Vietnam. I have got a 3ha-avocado farm located in a high land hill, app. 1000m above sea level. I have growm domestic varieties for 5 years, and this year i have just bought 50 Reed seedlings and 50 Hass seedlings to grow in my farm. Could you please advise me the optimum climate for Hass and Reed growing well, since these two varieties have just been imported to my country.

    Tks God brings you to me so that my mind gets to be clear now.

    • Thanks for reading my blog and leaving a comment! Avocados need well drained soil, warm weather (no freezing), and lots of water. Good luck with your new avocado crops!

  26. I’m spoiled by Reed avocados! I’ve had some bad avocados in my life, but never a bad Reed. Once cut open, they even take longer to turn brown (if at all) in the fridge than other varieties. And although the price might seem high, compared to the others, I consider them a bargain not just because they’re equal to about 4 Hass or Fuerte avocados, but also because the consistency of flavor and texture are so much more dependable.

  27. When I was a kid my dad knew someone named Jim Reed who was working on a special avocado. He lived in Carlsbaf, Ca. Could this possibly be the same avocado?

  28. Thank you for this useful info. I have 2 reed avocado trees in my back yard and only 1 tree has fruits (started last spring). I can’t wait to try out these avocados.

    But how do I feed and take care these trees, so they become more fruitful?

  29. Hi Mimi. I’ve learnt so much about Reed avocado from you.
    I grow avocados trees in the western region of Cameroon, central Africa. Among my nearly 1300 trees, is only a lone Reed which beared for the first time last year. But what a taste!!
    thanks a lot.

    • Hi Tazo,
      I’m honored to hear from you! Today we tasted the first Reed avocado of 2016. They aren’t ready to harvest yet, but this one fell off of the tree so we let it soften and ate it. Yes, the flavor is quite special and the texture is so creamy! I’m glad you have a Reed! What other varieties of avocados do you grow??
      ~Mimi

      • Sorry Mimi. It’s now that I’m viewing your message which is nearly one year old!
        Apart from Reed, the following avocado varieties are grown in my farm: Hass, Booth 7, Booth 8, Nikishawa, Lula, Anaheim, Fuerte and Hickson.
        Tazo

    • Hi Tazo! Please could you let me know if I could get some budwood for grafting my Avocados as you are petty close to me. I live in Lagos Nigeria.
      Would really appreciate.
      Best regards
      Fred

  30. I just bought my first Reed at Whole Foods here in Seattle. It won’t be ripe for at least a few days but I’m looking forward to all that goodness.

  31. Just bought a Reed avocado to share with my 88 year old mom. She’s so happy that she had tasted one at her age. Love the flavor, texture and that it makes it’s own bowl! Reed avocados are well worth the extra $$…creamy, rich and good to know I’m eating something special.

    Thank you for your informative blog. Really appreciate all the information. If I plant a Reed tree, do I need a lot of space? All day sun? I live in Huntington Beach, CA

    • The thing about Reed avocados is that they are only available during a few months in the summertime. The trees require care throughout the year, especially until the root system develops. Reed trees do grow more vertically than other varieties (they don’t spread out as much, especially if you prune them) They do need sun, and LOTS of water. IF a heat spell is predicted, get out there and water before the weather turns hot. Might be best to just look for Reeds at Farmers Markets or order them every summer from http://www.CaliforniaAvocadosDirect.com (our farm) Avocado trees are tricky to grow! (I’m so happy your mom enjoyed the Reed avocado! My mom loves them too — age 95)

  32. I am somewhat confused when you say late Summer to early Fall is the time to eat Californian Reeds, my Reeds are grown in Brisbane, Australia and I don`t start harvesting my crop until mid October, our Spring, then continue into early Summer if I am lucky. I agree that flower sets in Spring, around October for me, then it takes a full twelve months before the fruit are ready to harvest/eat. In California your flowers set in your Spring, April? Then, “it take (sic) all year for the fruit to reach full size and maturity so that it will ripen after it is picked.” Do you mean it takes till the following October before harvest, if so that is around six months, not twelve. Surely you don`t wait another twelve months, which would mean eighteen months, flower till harvest?

    I am trying hard to see if I am not understanding what I have read, for the life of me I can not think of any other interpretation. I do know that any attempt to harvest early, less than the twelve month growing period, results in a watery, flavourless unimpressive fruit.

    I would agree that in my part of the world, Reeds are little known of, never seen in fruit shops, only in markets, in my experience. The ubiquitous Hass has the market cornered with it`s typical “pear shape”, the round “cannon ball”, Reed, a much larger fruit, suffers the prejudice, “It`s not shaped like a pear” We live in a world where appearance counts, sadly. Even my wife tells me she prefers the Hass to my Reeds. I did try growing Hass and Fuerte originally, only the Reed had the resistance to Phytopthora Cinnamomi that has seen it survive these last twenty five Summers and no doubt is the reason it is the first choice for use as a root stock. Fortunately, I don`t rely on growing any of my fruit for commercial gain, just for the pleasure, interspersed with numerous challenges/problems, so I grow what I like/pleases me.

    P.S. I ignore my spell checker when it tries to apply your US spelling to my words.

    • Our trees flower in the spring, March – April, and the new fruit begins to grow before we are ready to harvest the previous year’s fruit. We used to be able to harvest our Reeds from July through Sept., but our climate is changing and for the last several years the Reeds have been ready to harvest in June. We still have a few Reeds hanging in the trees now (August) but they will be finished soon. Yes, you are correct that we need at least 12 months of growing period — actually a few months more than 12.

      Friends and acquaintances tell me that Reeds are their favorites, but I think they are available for too short of a time period. I think we need to have multiple varieties to enjoy — just like apples or tomatoes. Fuertes during our winter (Dec – Feb) and Reeds in the summer with Hass at their best in the spring and summer.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  33. Dear Mimi,
    I have bought some Reed seedlings and Hass seedling. Unfortunately, my labors planted them in different places of the farm. Now I don’t know what is Reed and what is Hass. Could you please help me to differentiate between them.

    Thanks advance for your consideration.

    • Our Reed trees grow more vertically (straight up) and the Hass trees spread out more. Do your trees have fruit yet? The Reeds are round like balls, and the Hass are more of a pear shape with bumpy skin.

  34. Hi Mimi,
    Tks for your prompt reply. Could you please let me know Lamb Hass and regular Hass, which is more popular and the reason why?

    I look forward to hearing from you

    Many tks in advance

  35. This may be a silly question, because I know avocado trees are huge, bute we have only a small yard. Is it possible to grow a reed tree in a large planter? Or would it not do well?

  36. My reed tree already has softball sized fruits that set this spring just six months ago. Are they still a year out or is it time to pick them?

    • The oil content of your Reed avocados has not yet reached maturity, so if you pick them now they will not soften and will not be edible. Wait until next June or July to harvest them so that you can eat them!

      • Are you growing mexicola or stewarts? I have a stewart tree and the fruits are small and turning black purple. I assume they are ready. I also ha e Hass fruit and sir prize and pinkertons. It’s hard to know when to pick them. We just planted 17 trees in the last 2 years and they have gotten 6 to 12ft tall already here in east poway.

  37. GREAT INFO ON REED AVCADOS THANKS

  38. Pingback: Shooting on Location | Farm Tour California Avocados Direct

  39. Great site, Lots of well written info.
    Nice to see that all the info is written be a person with a passion for these green beauties.

    I have a huge 20 meter + Reed tree that seems to fruit very very well every 2 years and poorly on the alt year. This year is strange here in New Zealand with a moderate drought for 2 months after Xmas. The tree had around 500 to 1000 avos on it, then dropped about 50% when they were small, (golf to tennis ball size) now I can see many hundreds of big ones almost breaking the branches of the tree! I can reach them, and hope they don’t over ripen on the tree. They are now mainly massive, like babies head size. I remember in 2015 the biggest of them had seeds as large as tennis balls by the end of the crop. How can I tell if I should try and harvest them, with ropes and very long poles etc?

    Regs,

    Austin D

    • Do you know what variety of avocado you have? I’m sure there are many varieties in New Zealand that we do not have here in California. The harvest season in NZ will also be opposite to ours in California. If you want to test your avocados, pick a few and see if they soften in a week or so. If the flavor is good, then go ahead and harvest. If they stay hard and rubbery, you know they are out of season.
      Or you could ask an avocado expert near you….hope this helps! (our trees sometimes bear heavier crops every other year too….some avocados are alternate-bearing)

  40. Dear

    Like to know your experience on the dwarf or semi-dwarf avocado that can be grown in coastal areas.

    Thanking you,
    Ali

  41. I think you have helped solve the mystery tree in the yard of a house I just bought in New Orleans! It looks just like the tall Reed tree. Can they grow here? It is over 20′ tall and, as you state above, pretty much straight up!

    • Hi Karen,
      I don’t know whether avocados can grow in New Orleans! Are there avocados on the tree? Are they shaped like cannon balls?

      • Mimi,
        Thanks for your reply. A friend’s dad had an avocado tree years ago, so I guess they can grow here. I have pics of my tree but I don’t see a way to upload them to your page. There’s no fruit on the tree currently. I’ve only had the house for about a month. No one that has seen it has been able to name it’s type although one person said that the leaves look like an avocado tree but that the tree is too big to be one!

  42. I was so happy to find some Reed avocados in my local Whole Foods market!! They were the ones we had, as a 5 yr old kid, in SoCal. I remember climbing the tree and picking which one I would eat for lunch!! Awesome!!

  43. I own a reed avocado tree. Love them. What I learned the first year is that the fruit that blossoms that year is actually next years Fruit. The first year we tried to harvest them is august. i would pick one, wait for it to soften, but the skin would wrinkle and the meat would be rubbery. After several attempts, I researched and learned that those avocados are next years harvest. That means that a reed avocado stays on the tree for 15 months before you can pick them.

  44. Hello Mimi. Stumbled on your blog while in search of Avocado budwood. I picked up interest in growing fruit trees lately. I planted a few avocados a few months ago. They are about two feet tall now and I am looking for Hass or Fouarte. I’ve never heard of Reed variety before but your presentation of it makes me wish to grow them also. My rootstocks were from random varieties that I cannot quite identify but they are all growing fine.
    Please could I get some budwood to buy from you. I live in Nigeria. Please let me know how to get them if you you do sell.
    Best regards
    Fred.

  45. I have a Reed tree and don’t know when to pick them, they flower in february and by November they are large and look ready to pick but when I do they are still very hard inside and not soft. Am i picking them to soon?

    • Hi David, Reed avocados are mature enough to soften and have flavor between end of June and late fall. Avocados do not soften on the tree. They must be picked first, then it takes from 5 to 14 days for them to soften, depending on how mature they are. The oil content must be high enough for the fruit to soften and be edible. As the fruit continues to mature on the tree, the oil content gets higher and the fruit flavor develops. When the oil content gets really high the fruit will be very buttery, it might begin to drop from the tree, and it will soften in fewer days. By November your Reeds should definitely be ready to eat if not over the hill! Remember that you have to wait for them to soften after they are picked. Just leave them on the kitchen counter and check them each day. They avocado should “give” slightly when pressed in the palm of your hand. Hope this helps.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.


CommentLuv badge

354 Shares
Pin114
Share239
Tweet
+11
Stumble
Share