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. 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.

  2. I use “Seven” on all of my trees regardless of type or variety for bugs seems to work well!

  3. We have a 4-5 year old fuerte tree in So Cal. Last year the fruit dropped so we did not get any. This year we already have small fruit and it’s early July. I just fertilized yesterday with an avocado & citrus blend. Is this the right time for the tree to start producing fruit? And when do we know when to pick? I know they ripen off the branch.

    • Yes, this is the time when the tree sets new fruit. The blossoms happened in Feb/March/April and now the fruit is getting large enough to see. They will continue to grow (“size up”) until the oil content of the fruit is sufficient for the avocados to soften after they are picked. If you pick them too soon, they will be rubber and never soften. If you wait too long, they will go past the perfect point and fall off the tree. Fuertes are usually “released” by the state of California in late Nov or early December. However, the flavor will be much better if you wait until Jan/Feb to eat them when the oil content is higher. Fuertes are my favorites.

  4. Hi Mimi,

    I have a 70+ year old giant Fuerte tree that my mother-in-law planted in the late 1940’s. It’s early July now, the tree needs pruning.
    When is the best time of year to prune the tree?

    Jerry Madison
    Los Angeles

    • Hi Jerry,
      Springtime is probably the best time to prune — after you harvest the crop and before it starts to bud for the bloom. The Farmer says you can prune just about anytime except in the fall when you have a crop almost ready to pick.

      We don’t prune our Fuerte trees — except to remove dead wood to make the tree cleaner and safer for harvest. We did “stump” some Fuertes back in the 90’s and had them grafted to Hass. We did that in the springtime so that there would be sap in the trunk and budwood from Hass would be available.

      What is your reason for pruning? Make the tree shorter? Remove certain branches?

      • The bottom branches are quite heavy and we have propped them up with heavy wood stakes. I thought if we did cut those then we could prune the tree as well. But that is just my non botanist opinion. I really don’t know. It sounds like you wouldn’t prune. Is that correct? I greatly value your opinion as you’re my Fuerte guru.
        Best regards,

        • It’s hard to know what to tell you without seeing the tree. The Farmer says that if you cut bottom branches you could lose the production. It those lower branches are producing it’s because the tree is healhty and getting sunshine. The lower branches won’t grow back if you cut them off. If you prune the tree to make it shorter, it will continue to grow. Cutting just lower branches is not a good idea, says The Farmer. Want to send us a photo of the tree? [email protected]

  5. Thank you Mimi. I will leave the tree alone.
    Best regards,

  6. Hi Mimi I enjoyed reading this post. I just bought a Fuerte 2 weeks ago at a nursery in Calabasas. It is about 12 feet tall. We built a shade structure around it and whitewashed the trunk. I have lost 3 avocado trees (young) to heat and sunburn. We are about to enter a 2 week heat wave (90+ to 100+). I am scared of it (thrice bitten). Any words of wisdom to help through this period?

    Thanks very much and keep up the good work.

    • Hi Phillip, Sorry about the loss of your trees. We have put shade upbrellas over baby trees too — even did it for my pumpkins and watermelons this year. this might not be the best time to plant an avocado tree. I would wait until after the heat spell — maybe Dec thru Feb is a better time. But if you have already planted it, just make sure it gets plenty of water — don’t let it get dry at all — it will be trying to grow a root system and if it finds dry soil it will suck up salts — and the leaves will turn brown and fall off. So there is no vacation for you this year — you are staying home with your avocado tree and the hose!

  7. Thanks for your thoughtful comments! Yes we planted it (and a small Hass) about 2 weeks ago. I will do exactly that and keep it watered through the upcoming heat spell. Fingers will be majorly crossed!
    Thanks again, Phillip

  8. Evening Mimi,

    I just recently purchased my spanish dream home and I was stunned to find out there is an avocado tree on the property! To my surprise when I finally closed on the house (late May) it had started to bare fruit. I made sure to water plenty and when I finally moved in (June) I was really able to take care and monitor it. Tree looks good and we haven’t trimmed or anything, just put a supporting beam to help one of the main branches! My question is this, from newbie to expert, when will I know to pick the fruit?

  9. Hi Mimi,

    i just bought a young Fuerte from a local nursery it says it came from Durling Nurseries). It’s about 8-9 feet tall. I put in a nice spot without too much full day sun. My question – I hear these trees don’t have great fruit production. Is this true? Do i need to buy a Haas or another A type or do you think this one has been grafted by the local nursery for greater fruit production?

    • Hi Paul,
      Any tree that you buy has already been grafted. They use a root stock to grow the initial tree, then graft to a particular variety. Since you have a Fuerte, your fruit will be ready in Dec – March. Fuertes can be alternate bearing (a big crop one year and a lighter one the next year) but they can really produce in a good year too. You don’t need an “A” tree to get production but if you want to plant another tree, it does increase your chances of better production. You will get fruit if you don’t plant an “A” tree — and if you do want another tree, then why not plant a Hass so you can get fruit throughout the season. Hass fruit is ready from April through summer (if it doesn’t get too hot and the fruit doesn’t drop) We have been harvesting our Hass by mid-July lately. We used to be able to hold them later in the summer.
      Avocado trees need lots of water — and be sure to anticipate hot weather. Give more water when it’s going to get hot – don’t wait for the heat to come and the tree to get stressed. We watch the weather constantly – anticipate heat. Good luck!

  10. Why are these not for sale in the markets?

    • Fuerte avocados have a thinner skin than Hass, and are in season Dec – March. Some years ago the avocado industry ‘standardized’ and the Hass variety became the avocado that is grown and sold commercially. If you want to buy Fuertes, you must find them at Farners’ Markets, grow your own, or you can buy them online through our farm.

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