large Fuerte

Fuerte Avocados: When to Pick?

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Fuerte avocado

I just came in from checking out our Fuerte avocado trees.  It’s almost time to pick the biggest avocados! This variety is rarely found outside of California anymore, but they are among the best tasting avocados in my opinion.  

We have had such hot weather in the last month or so that the leaves are really brown on the tips.  The tree has been trying to get enough water during the heat,  but salts have built up in the soil since we haven’t had rain to wash them away.  That’s why so many of the leaves are brown.   Fuerte trees are especially sensitive to salt.

fuerte avocados i

When I stick my head into the branches,  I can find bunches of beautiful Fuerte avocados!  They are getting larger now and beginning tomorrow the biggest ones will be cleared by the California Dept. of Food and Agriculture as legal to harvest.  This means that the oil content for size 40 and up has reached the industry standard and is deemed to be edible.   Size 40 is 9.5-10.5 ounces,  and they’re named “40’s” because 40 of this size avocado will fit into a lug box.   If the avocados are bigger and only 36 fit into a box. they are called “36’s”.    Smaller avocados are “48’s”  or “60’s”  because that’s how many will fit into a lug box.

large Fuerte

Even though the state of California has released the large Fuertes for harvest (as of Oct. 27, 2015)  it’s a good idea to wait another month or two.   The oil content may be high enough for the fruit to soften, but the deep flavor of a Fuerte will develop as the oil content gets higher.   We like to wait until January or February to eat them.  That’s not to say that you shouldn’t pick your fruit if they are very large and the tree is straining to hold them all!   Bring a few inside and let them soften,  then see what you think about the flavor.   Fuerte avocados are delicious throughout the season!

cocktail avocado

You might see a few of these on your Fuerte avocado tree.  These are avocados that didn’t grow correctly and because they are shaped like a little cocktail wiener,  we call them “Cocktails”.  Some folks love to pickle them.  They’re ripen just like a regular avocado too!   When our kids were small they would use them like crayons to draw on the concrete driveway.   Kids can make their fun anywhere with anything!

Fuerte avocados

We like to pick only the largest avocados and leave the smaller ones on the tree to size up.

Do you have a Fuerte avocado tree?   Fuerte variety is one of the classic California avocado varieties that have amazing flavor but are no longer shipped across the country by suppliers to grocery stores and food service.  The skin is thinner than Hass, and the fruit is smooth, not bumpy like a Hass.   When they are ripe and have been softened,  the skin will peel right off the fruit!   Such a beautiful flavor too!

Have you ever eaten Fuerte avocados?   They’re one of my favorites!  Look for them in the Farmers Markets in southern California or order some online!

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15 Comments

  1. Great post, Mimi. I was just looking at our Fuertes this morning, too! We only have a few Fuerte trees in our grove. I’ve asked our grove manager to add some more the next time he plants new trees. They’re looking so good!

  2. Oh boy are we getting excited about getting to order our very favorite avocados, Fuertes from your ranch, again this year! We love your Hass, too. But we DREAM about your Fuertes for the rest of the year, when they are out of season. If there is a better avocado, we have not tasted it, and can’t imagine it. January used to be a big let down, low mood month after the excitement of the holidays. Your Fuertes have given us a reason to celebrate in January, and February, and into early March!!! Thank you!!!

  3. I chuckled when I read the part about using the cocktail avocados as crayons to draw on the sidewalk. Kids are so creative.

    I haven’t seen Fuerte avocados in Canada, but maybe I’ll have to continue looking harder. I’m curious to try them!
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  4. Hello! We have fuerte avocado and i was wondering whats the best way to prune the tree? We bought the house in 2013 and last year we got so much avocados, that now all the branches are hanging low and some branches are dead. Im just worried that if we prune it, the tree might get upset and will stop producing. Sorry! I dont know much about fruit trees. We had 2 peach tree and we cut down i tree and trimmed the other and now, the one tree that we kept, well is dead now ;( So! No more peach tree for us.
    I love avocado, so i really dont want my avocado to die on me.

    • See another post I wrote called “Why We Cut Down Trees”. We sometimes “stump” the trees when they get too tall, and let them regrow. It takes 2-3 years until they produce again, but they come back. We prune “deadwood” every year on our trees though, and maybe that’s what you need to do. Avocado trees will grow back if their roots are strong, they get enough water and nutrients, and are disease-free. (There are diseases like root rot that can make a tree sick.) Hope this helps.

  5. We have a fuerte avocadi tree in our front yard. It was grown from a seed started by my son. It is about 35 years old and had several hundred avocados on it. We live on the beach (about 600 feet from the surf) which is a really bad place to raise an avocado tree. Neverless, the tree still produces fruit.

  6. Hi Mini, I live in La Mesa, CA. Do you allow customers to come and pick up Fuerte avocados? If so, when and how much for about 40 of them, medium size. I really have a urge for the taste of them. Thank you. Vic 619-286-3661.

  7. Mimi, Thanks for your knowledgeable website on Fuerte avocados. I live in the San Francisco East Bay area & chose this tree for my yard because the I was told the Fuerte is self-pollinating & doesn’t need other avocado trees to bear fruit.
    Due to our drought conditions, my tree doesn’t get much water, but has grown very large quite quickly. A few avocados have fallen off even though they were still very hard. I let them ripen indoors but they had no flavor at all. Really! Just no taste.
    So, is this due to lack of water? Or do I need to fertilize my tree for better flavored fruit? Or is this typical of the first batch a tree bears? What do you think?
    Thanks so much. Bibi.

    • Hi Bibi: If your tree grew quickly, it must be getting plenty of water. The avocados are hard until they are picked or fall off the tree — it’s normal for them to be hard. Depending on the time of year, it will take 5 -10 days for the avocados to soften and be ready to eat. The flavor is usually dependent on the oil content. Early in the season (Dec for Fuertes) the avocados won’t have a lot of flavor because the oil content has not become high enough. In fact, the state of Ca has a ‘release date’ for different sizes and varieties of avocados each year, based on the measured oil content. Unless the oil content has reached a certain level, the avocado won’t soften enough to be eaten at all. Later in the season the oil content is high enough for the flavor to be rich. Late in the season the oil content may be so high that the avocado doesn’t last very long before it gets too soft and goes ‘over the hill’.

      So — if you are not fertilizing your tree, you might want to do that. I am not the farmer so I cannot tell you about the various nutrients that we use on our trees — but I do know that “triple 15” fertilizer is what my husband recommends for a backyard avocado tree.

      Your Fuerte avocados might be mature later in the season than ours, due to the difference in climate. Maybe they will be tastier if you wait? Or maybe it’s a lack of certain nutrients. I can ask my husband when I return to Ca. — right now I’m in Vermont visiting family (my home state).

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