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.
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 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!
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!