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Dec 11, 2007 03:47 AM

In Search of Hass Avocados

Why is it impossible for me to find actual California Hass avocados in Nothheast Ohio? I mostly see ones grown in Mexico, and they taste terrible. To me, they taste more like banana than avocado, and commonly ripen with black oxidized dots in the meat. On the tag, they don't even say Hass (although the supermarket's tag above the bin always says Hass). Even the "Hass" labeled ones at TJ's aren't quite right (better than anywhere else, but not as good as say, 2 years ago) Is there something wrong with the California crop? Do I have any hope of finding good Hass avocados again?

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  1. It could be a seasonal thing, but that is just a guess on my part.

    1. Avocados are not really a seasonal crop - they're available year-round - but the California crops where hit pretty hard by fires this year, IIRC, so there may not be as much to go around as in the past.

      5 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        Seasonal for California is what I meant.

        1. re: MacArthur Mike

          Hass avocados are a year-round crop in Southern California. They mature on the tree, but don't ripen (that is, soften) until picked, so they can be kept on the tree almost indefinitely until harvested...unless a freak freeze hits and wipes out an orchardful.

          1. re: ricepad

            I don't know where this belief that avacadoes won't ripen on a tree began. I even heard Alton Brown make that claim. However, when I was a kid growing up in southern California, *THE* absolute greatest avacado I have ever had in my life was when I was about ten and we drove up to Santa Anna to visit Aunt May and Uncle Bill, who grew oranges for Sunkist, and Haas avacados. Aunt May's "pet" avacado tree was a huge one as tall as the house in their fenced backyard away from the orchards, and she knew how much I loved avacados. She had tied a brown paper bag around one to keep the birds from helping themselves, and when we arrived, she took me by the hand, stopped in the kitchen and got a knife, a spoon and a salt shaker. Then she took me out the back door, sat me down on the porch steps, then untied the bag and revealed the biggest avacado I have ever seen in my entire life! I swear, it was very close to the size of a football! She cut it in half, put one half next to me and handed me the other with a smile and said, "Enjoy." And boy, did I!

            Haas avacados will ripen on the tree. But they will also continue to ripen when picked green. But I don't know anything about those green thin skinned avacados that used to be a Florida winter crop. Don't eat 'em!

            1. re: Caroline1

              According to the University of California, an avocado ripens "only after it has been picked from the tree..."


              It's possible, tho, that the way your aunt bagged the drupes might have captured enough ethylene gas to get them to ripen on the tree.

              1. re: ricepad

                Interesting! And thanks. I had always assumed the bag around the avacado was to keep the birds away. We visited them two or three times a summer and around the holidays until I was in junior high, and we always returned home with avocados, oranges and walnuts to supply not only ourselves, but the neighborhood! Well, no avacados around Christmas, but lots of other stuff. That sparkling avacado memory is the only time I recall anyone actually picking any fruit -- avacado, orange or walnut -- while we were there. What they sent home with us was either from the house or the packing shed. Well, except for the oranges my brother and I snuck into the orchard to eat off the tree. I do know that particular avocado was the richest one I've ever had! I couldn't even finish one half by myself. Strange the things that last in our memories anchored by taste and smell.

      2. Costco, if you have one close.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Gail

          Thanks, but there are none in the area.

          1. re: madgreek

            If you have an Aldi Foods by you, they carry Hass Avocados for.89 at the moment.

        2. California avocados are seasonal. The Mexican avocados are available year-round. Our house in Mexico is about 30-40 miles from the prime avocado growing areas around Uruapan, Michoacan. There are 2 types of Hass grown here - Hass and Lamb Hass. There are 6 other avocados exported from the Uruapan area - all look very similar to the Hass with dark pebbly skins. The difference is the shape and taste. Some are better than others.
          Your problem is probably labeling in the supermarket. A Mexican Fuerte looks like a Hass, sort-of, but lacks the delicate, buttery flavor of the Hass. Since it lo0ks like a Hass, the supermarket is just lumping all dark pebbly skin avocados as Hass.
          Try not to pick green Hass. They will take so long to ripen that you will get those nasty black spots before they are ready to eat. I ripen my avocados in a brown paper bag on the counter for a day or two. If it takes longer than that, you probably will have a yucky avocado.
          Check out the Calavo avocado website to see the different Mexican export avocados.
          Good luck.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Pampatz

            By contrast, I've had good experience with the Alice Waters tip of buying very firm green avocados (of whatever variety) and ripening them at home, even if it takes several days. In the winter I do keep them in a paper bag with the bananas, and leave the bag near the fireplace.

          2. Maybe this site will help you find an avocado that will be as good as a hass.


            I am fortunate to live in an area where I can get them year round.