The PROBLEM with avocados today is not that they’re “old hat,” but that “agribusiness” has turned them into a global – well, at least Western Hemisphere – ubiquitous crop, and they haven’t done one hell of a lot for the quality in their rush to market. I too grew up in California (I was a kid before there was a Disneyland), and Orange County was called Orange County because it was covered with hundreds and hundreds of acres of orange groves, a few hundreds of acres belonging to my dad’s side of the family. For variety’s sake, they also had a few avocado and walnut trees. My Aunt Mae and Uncle Bill had a HUGE avocado tree in their fenced back yard that sat in the middle of their grove. Aunt Mae knew how much I love avocados, so on one visit, as soon as we arrived, she grabbed me by the hand, led me through the kitchen stopping for a table knife, a salt shaker, a spoon, and a napkin, then out the back door we flew. She went to the avocado tree where my prize was enclosed in a brown paper bag to help it ripen properly. When the bag was off, there was the biggest avocado I have ever seen in my life! Literally the size of a football! I was around 8 years old. She sat me down on the back porch steps, cut the avocado in half, pitted it, then supplied me with the napkin, the salt shaker and the spoon and told me to have fun! And boy, did I ever! THE avocado of my dreams.
Back then, in the winter months, absolutely yucky thin skinned shiny green avocados were brought in from Florida that many Californians laughingly called “alligator pears” to distinguish them from the knobby black skinned Hass type avocados of California. I haven’t seen one in a supermarket for decades now, for which I am personally thankful. They were lower in fat than California avocados and had an astringent quality to them that most likely contributed to their scarcity today.
The “globalization” of anything and everything related to humanity (especially food) is, in my opinion, responsible for the nasty avocados that are reaching the markets in my area today. I live in Texas, and have seen California avocados in the marketplace maybe once in the last year. The rest of the time they’re from Mexico or South America. They often are stringy inside, brown quickly, develop large mushy black spots on their inside in record time, and some of them have been obviously hit by heavy frost or the trees are not mature enough to bear really good avocados.
You don’t even want to get me started about avocados (and cream cheese) in sushi! I’m an obsessive on-line menu browser and I swear, sushi bars have at least ten times more avocado featuring menu items than any Mexican or Tex Mex restaurant on the planet! As for the writer of the article ElsieDee offers, poor soul. I’ll just bet she orders avocados in a restaurant from once to four or five times a week. If she didn’t, how would she know???