California Avocados: Delicious and in Seasonbianca
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Avocados are creamy, buttery, and slightly nutty, making them ideal for countless dishes — and those grown in California are now in season!
Once reserved for royalty, avocados are now enjoyed by countless people around the world. You can buy them at grocery stores or turn to wholesale distributors, so there’s no reason to leave this delicious and nutritious fruit off your menu this spring and summer.
The good news is that the 2023 California avocado season is now underway! So, get ready to welcome delicious avocados into your kitchen and onto your menu. Here’s what you need to know about avocado seasonality, avocado variations, where to buy California avocados, the benefits of using avocado distributors in NY, and cooking with avocados.
Like many fruits, avocados are available at grocery stores year-round. However, not all avocados are the same, and different varieties of avocados peak at different times. In South Africa, the avocado season begins in June and lasts through October, while Australia’s avocado season is from March through January due to the widespread and climatically diverse growing regions across the continent. In New Zealand, avocados are exported from August through March, and Chile’s avocado season runs from July through April. Peru and Argentina have an avocado season from May to August, whereas Mexico produces avocados all year.
However, when it comes to California-grown avocados, you only have a select window to catch them in peak season. These avocados grow year-round but are only in season from spring through summer and occasionally early fall. In 2023, avocados from California are expected to peak from April through July, with 243 million pounds of the avocado harvest expected to be of the Hass variety, 7 million pounds of Lamb Hass, 6 million pounds of GEM avocados, and around 1 million pounds of other avocado varieties.
How Do California Avocados Differ from Other Region’s Avocados?
While plenty of regions produce avocados, there’s something special about the crop coming out of California. For one, these avocados are born and raised in the U.S. As a result, they can be picked at their peak by Californian farmers and arrive at your restaurant in just a few days. That kind of freshness is hard to beat — and your customers will be able to taste the difference compared to well-traveled avocados shipped from across the world.
California also has the perfect climate for avocados. It’s not just a state full of beaches, mountains, and forests. It also has incredibly rich and fertile soil, cool coastal breezes, and plenty of sun, all of which make the Golden State ideal for growing avocados. But that’s not to say that avocados can be grown just anywhere in California. Less than 1% of the state is suitable for avocado farming, but the avocados grown on this land are delicious. It’s no wonder there are over 3,000 California avocado growers already!
It’s also worth noting that Hass avocados are native to California. Back in the 1920s, Rudolph Hass discovered this variety of avocados in La Habra Heights, and it has taken off. Today, there are over 5 million Hass avocado trees in California and around 10 million worldwide — and each Hass avocado tree is a descendant of that original tree. So, it’s hardly surprising that Hass avocados thrive in the California sunshine.
What Kinds of Avocados Grow in California?
When it comes to avocados from California, you aren’t limited to just Haas avocados. Sure, these avocados are native to the region and make up a majority of the crop, but there are other varieties of avocados grown in California. No one type of avocado is inherently better than the others. It all comes down to what you plan on using your avocados for and what season it is, but you can’t go wrong with avocados grown in California.
Varieties of avocados found in California include:
80% of the avocados consumed worldwide are of the Hass variety — and the U.S. is particularly fond of Hass avocados. In fact, 95% of avocados we consume in the U.S. are Hass avocados. While other avocados feature smooth green skin, Hass avocados have dark green bumpy skin. As the fruit ripens, its skin darkens, eventually becoming a very dark shade. Compared to other avocado varieties, Hass avocados are higher in fat, have a richer taste, and feature a smoother, creamier texture. These fruits have an oval shape, a small/medium seed, and generally weigh 5-12 ounces.
Though this avocado variety is native to California, many producers in Mexico also grow Hass avocados, as the climate is well suited to Hass avocados’ growing needs. Michoacán is especially notable for its Hass avocado production, as it contains over 30,000 groves of Hass avocados and its trees bloom 365 days a year.
Lamb Hass Avocados
As you can probably guess from the name, Lamb Hass avocados are pretty similar to Hass avocados. Also featuring an oval shape, pebbly skin, and a similar taste, the main difference between the two varieties is that Lamb Hass avocados are larger. They have a medium-sized seed and generally weigh between 11.75 and 18.75 ounces.
Unlike Hass and Lamb Hass avocados, Zutano avocados have shiny, yellow-green skin and a pear shape. They are relatively large, weighing between 6 and 14 ounces on average.
This variety of avocados is also harvested at different times. Zutano avocados are harvested in September and are generally available through early winter.
Another green-skinned variety of avocados, Bacon avocados are a medium-sized fruit with smooth skin. They have medium/large seeds, an oval shape, and generally weigh between 6 and 12 ounces. This variety of avocados is available from late fall through spring. Compared to other avocado varieties, Bacon avocados are easy to peel and have a lighter, more subtle flavor.
Reed avocados have a round shape, medium seed, and slightly pebbled skin. They weigh between 8 and 18 ounces and are available in the summer months and early fall. They have a rich, nutty flavor and a creamy, smooth texture, making them ideal for all sorts of recipes or even on their own with a dash of salt.
These avocados have small seeds and slightly pebbled skin and are available from early winter through spring. Think of the Pinkerton avocado as a cross between a Rincon and Hass avocado, as Pinkertons have black skin (like the Hass variety) and are incredibly hearty (like Rincon avocados).
Pinkerton avocados have a noticeably long pear shape, weigh between 8 and 18 ounces, and have a high oil content, easy-to-peel skin, and a creamy richness. Additionally, Pinkerton avocado trees yield more fruit per tree than many other varieties.
This variety of avocados has a similar taste, texture, and appearance to the Hass variety. However, it has a pump oval shape and is slightly larger, weighing 6 to 15 ounces on average. Due to their taste and texture, Gwen avocados are ideal for use in guacamole.
Fuerte avocados are pear-shaped and feature smooth skin and medium-sized seeds. They typically weigh between 5 and 14 ounces and are harvested in the late fall through the spring. Fuerte avocados are known for their smooth skin and fruity taste, though they are not as creamy as the Hass variety.
These pear-shaped avocados have thick, dark skin with natural gold flecks and a slightly nutty flavor with a smooth texture. Compared to other varieties, GEM avocados are easier to scoop out.
Despite their thick skin, GEM avocados are easy to peel. You can find them in the spring and summer, and they’re incredibly versatile. Whether you’re adding avocado toast or delicious desserts to your menu, GEM avocados will do the trick.
Why Are California Avocados Better?
There is a lot of hype around avocados grown in California — and with good reason! Not only are there plenty of avocados to choose from, but avocados from California also come from an ideal growing climate with fertile soil. So, when you buy avocados during California avocado season, you can trust that they’ll be fresh and delicious. Plus, Hass avocados are native to California, meaning they flourish in the Golden State.
What’s more, California farmers nurture their avocados, land, and the entire environment. These local growers use environmentally friendly farming practices, so there’s no till farming, adequate erosion control, and careful water conservation. Additionally, California avocado farmers pay their workers fairly and abide by federal and state health and safety standards.
Where To Buy California Avocados
Though these avocados are grown in California, they’re available in stores nationwide. To find fresh, Californian-grown avocados, you’ll want to look for labels with “California”. However, you can’t always rely on stores for the avocados you need. That’s why buying wholesale avocados is a great idea.
When you purchase avocados from a wholesale distributor, you cut out the retailer, meaning you’ll likely save money and have a better selection to choose from. You’ll save time and receive quality produce when you work with avocado distributors in NY — and Riviera Produce is one of the best avocado distributors in NY. Plus, buying from a wholesaler like Riviera Produce gives you access to more than just avocados. We also have and work with many trusted farms across the country, so we can meet your restaurant’s food needs.
Other Tips and Tricks for Chefs
Once you get your hands on some fresh avocados, you’ll want to ensure they’re ripe. A ripe avocado should easily yield to gentle pressure when squeezed in the palm of your hand. If your avocados are not mature, you can put them on the counter for a few days. To speed up the ripening process, you can place them in a paper bag with an apple or a kiwifruit, as the ethylene gas emitted by apples and kiwifruit will trigger the avocado ripening process.
Once you have a ripe avocado, you can remove the seed. To do this safely, you’ll want to quarter your avocado by cutting it in half length-wise around the seed. Then, you can rotate the avocado, cut it around the seed from the other direction, and remove it with your fingers.
You can then use the avocado in dishes to surprise and please your diners. Everyone loves a good avocado toast or guacamole, but you can also get more creative! Maybe try making an avocado salad, avocado quesadillas, or avocado chips. Even avocado goat cheese truffles and simple tomato and avocado sandwiches are sure to win over crowds.
Access Fresh, Wholesale Avocados This Season
There’s nothing quite like Californian avocados to brighten up your menu. They’re creamy, delicious, and, seeing as they’re grown in California, fresh. Plus, there are a lot of incredible varieties to choose from!
If you need wholesale avocados during California avocado season this year, look no further than Riviera Produce. We work with farms across the country to source the highest-quality fruits and vegetables to pass along to our customers, offer competitive pricing, give personalized attention, and serve restaurants in NYC’s five boroughs, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Philadelphia.
Visit Riviera Produce to get wholesale fresh fruits and vegetables for your restaurant!