Who doesn’t love a rich, flavorful avocado in guacamole, in sandwiches, as a salad ingredient, or in many recipes where one might use a less healthy fat? For most Americans, avocado means Hass avocado, the small California variety that fills the grocery shelves. With its high oil content and appealing flavor, it’s a fine fruit, but Hass avocado trees are poorly adapted to Florida’s humid climate and not grown commercially here. Fortunately, there are many excellent varieties that do well in Florida. Late summer, fall, and winter-fruiting varieities extend the season of locally grown avocados to most of the year.

Avocados are ripe when slightly soft over the entire surface area. Cut in half lengthwise, remove the single seed, and spoon out the delicious flesh.

The trees are attractive evergreens, vigorous growers, and hardy except for one Achilles heel: they are not at all tolerant of flooding and need to be on high ground or mounds to avoid perishing in wet summers. At SweetSong Groves, we have a dozen avocado trees: NW-A-7 (Brogdon), NW-B-8 (Australian), NW-C-1 (Winter Mexican), NW-C-7 (Oro Negro), SW-B-4 (Nishikawa), SW-B-5 (Jose Antonio), SW-C-1 (Parrish Red), SW-C-3 (Catalina), SW-E-1 (Jonway), SW-K-5 (Day), NW-E-3 (Jose Antonio), SE-B-1 (Jose Antonio). We hope to reach commercial production for at least a couple of them during 2018.

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