We eat a lot of avocados around here, and it was high time we started growing our own. We planted trees a few years ago. Since then we’ve had avocados here and there, but this is our first big crop. We’ve made salad, fresh rolls, fish tacos, gazpacho, new recipes, and still had plenty to share with friends.
Most grocery stores carry two types of avocados, labeled ‘Hass’ or ‘Florida.’ The thing is, of the dozens of avocado varieties we have in Florida, not a single one is actually called ‘Florida.’ That’s just the commercial label they use in stores. They’re often a variety called Choquette. They have shiny green skin and they’re much larger than the Hass, weighing up to two pounds. That makes a lot of guacamole. They have a lower fat content; some people describe them as watery.
I like the big avocados just fine, but I was surprised to find we’re not limited to those here. According to the UF Extension Service, avocados are classified as Mexican, Guatemalan, or West Indian (or a hybrid among those). While all of them can grow in Florida, the West Indian varieties are ideal for our tropical lowland climate, just as the Mexican varieties are best suited to California. Hybrid varieties give us the best of both worlds, and there are many available.
We had a hard time picking the perfect tree, so we settled on four. We chose varieties that ripen at different times so we can have avocados all year: Brogdon, Day, Wurtz and Daisy. There isn’t much information about Daisy online, but our tree has produced buckets of medium-sized fruit. The flesh is rich and buttery and it looks similar to a Hass, but the skin is very thin. Check your local fruit stand to try these and many others to find your favorite Florida avocado.