I'm an avid, rabid fan of avocados. Yeah, they're full of fat, you say, but it's the good kind of fat people - monounsaturated! DUH! Not to mention they kick the banana's ass in potassium content and have the highest fiber content of any fruit, yes, I said fruit. They are technically a giant berry!

See how much I love avocados:


Working from home recently (i.e. right now), I stumbled upon the website for the Ark of Taste, a collaborative project between LocalHarvest and Slow Food. The concept is kind of cool albeit mostly ridiculous. The project "aims to rediscover and catalogue forgotten flavors by documenting excellent food products that are in danger of disappearing". Basically, foods that are 'endangered' are nominated and, once selected, join the ranks of hundreds of other foods that people are encouraged to purchase and consume in order to keep them from becoming extinct. Pretttttty outrageous, but most things Slow Food are.

I can't get wrapped up in all that, HOWEVER, thanks to the Ark of Taste website, I recently discovered three new kinds of avocados. Haas, more like HAHs (just kidding baby, I love you forever). Meet:

Fuerte Avocado - With the commercialization of avocado production, the Fuerte avocado was displaced by the thick-skinned Haas, which handles better in shipping to distant markets. Yet the Fuerte is a connoisseur's avocado and is considered to have richer, more complex flavor than the Hass with notes of hazelnut and a clean, lemony finish. It is a medium to large fruit with an elongated pyriform shape ranging from around five to sixteen ounces. Its skin is smooth, thin and conceals thick, yellow flesh that is eighteen percent oil.

Puebla Avocado - The Puebla avocado is a small, compact fruit resembling somewhat in appearance the better-known Hass. The Puebla, however, has beautiful onyx black skin, which is much thinner and smoother than other commercially grown varieties. It boasts a smooth, velvety flesh with a nutty aroma and a butter-rich taste. The hardy growing trees hit their peak season from December to February in southern California. According to Dennis Sharmahd, one of the few remaining Puebla producers, there are only 10 trees left in San Diego County. Dennis is hopeful that by next year, trees might be available for sale.

Popenoe Avocado - Unlike most oily commercial varieties, the Popenoe avocado is lighter, enormous (up to a pound each), has a shiny green skin and grows well in humid sub-tropical and tropical areas. The football-shaped Popenoe is described as firmer, creamier and juicier than the Haas avocado. There are currently no commercial operations to grow the Popenoe. Clonal reproduction of this cultivar has been very limited and distribution by seed has historically been more common for non-commercial avocados in Florida and Honduras. Sustainable production of the Popenoe avocado will require clonal reproduction of the few existing trees.

So, I say I don't want to get all caught up in this Ark of Taste and then I think, "Wow, these varieties look really good!" But what if I never get to try them? How will I live the rest of my life knowing I never once sampled the notes of hazelnut that a Fuerte has to offer, or the butter-rich taste of the Puebla? Ok, so maybe I'm being a bit dramatic, but I guess it tends to hit closer to home when we're talking about one of my favorite foods ever. Perhaps fate is calling? Do I move to San Diego to foster some new baby Puebla trees? Should I start a one-woman picket line at the farmer's markets of California, demanding they "Bring back the Puebla! Don't say no to Popenoe!"

Probably not. For now, I will dutifully eat my Hass in support of the avocado in general and in memory of avocados to pass.



Noah said...

Thank you so much for posting this.

Alex said...

I hate them.