October 18

Miami Avocados

Today my sister in law came by with a an avocado. Its my favorite variety known as Catalina. This specimen measured 8 inches long! This is not your typical store-bought avocado.

If anything, this variety of avocado it’s a giant compare to your regular Hass Avocado (commercialized variety in the US).

Not all avocado is created equal.

Did you know they are over 500 avocados varieties in the world? In the US these are mainly the 8 varieties commercially grown.

  1. Bacon
  2. Fuerte
  3. Gwen
  4. Hass
  5. Lamb Hass
  6. Pinkerton
  7. Reed
  8. Zutano

But if you live in South Florida then it’s a different story! Just like with coffee, shirts and sandwiches. We got our own thing going on with avocados! We have a unique connection to Cuban and the islands therefore this reflects on our food and fruits such avocados.

Look at this short list of avocado varieties grown in south Florida.

Some of the avocados grown in Miami, Florida
Some of the avocados grown in Miami, Florida. Source: Pine Island Nursery

Miami Avocados from Cuba

The Catalina variety comes from Cuba. What makes this avocado variety so unique besides its size is also its color, consistency and flavor. This avocado is very creamy and light but with a distinctive flavor. I remember these flavors as a kid growing up in Cuba. My story here.

I knew there were many different avocados in Cuba, but I had no idea of the magnitude of the list. I learned they are a t least 23 avocados cultivars of commercial interest in Cuba. I’ve created a list of these famous cultivars and their Cuban place of origin.

Avocados cultivars of Cuban origin.

ACOSTA (West Indian) Tree originated ner Santiago de las Vegas, Cuba, propagated 1910. Fruit season, Dec. in Cuba. Color, green; size, 20-24 ozs; shape, pyriform; seed size, large. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
ARANGO Syn. Cor. Raul Arango Tree Cuba listed in 1917. Fruit season June-Sept. in Cuba. Weight up to 7 lbs. Shape, oval. Flavor, excellent. (CAS Yearbook 1950)  
BARTLETT (W.I.) P.I.40978 Buds introduced 1915 by F.W.Popenoe from Placetas, Cuba. Fruit season, 2 seasons at Placetas July, Aug. & Dec. Color, green; size, 4″ long & 3″ broad; shape, broadly pyriform; skin, smooth, seed, size medium. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
CATALINA Orig. in Cuba. West Indian type. Fruit: large, 18 to 26 oz; skin light green, smooth, glossy, thick; seed small, loose in cavity. Flowering group A; minor commercial cultivar in Florida. (B&O Register) Origin, Cuba; Race, W.I.; Flowering group A (Lahav & Gazit)
DON CARLOS (W.I.) 40979 Tree introduced 1915 by F.W. Popenoe USDA from near Placetas, Cuba. Fruit color, light green; size, small; shape, spherical; quality, good. Seed, very small. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
EARLY (W.I.) Florida Syn. of Cuban Early. Mentioned in FL. Exp. Sta. Press bulletin 244, 1916. No longer propagated. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
GOMEZ Cuban A Cuban variety listed in 1917. Fruit season, Dec.-Jan.; size, large; quality, good. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
GUADALUPE (W.I.) P.I. 40989 Introduced 1915 by F.W. Popenoe USDA from near Placetas, Cuba. Fruit season, Sept.; color, gren; weight 12-14 ozs.; shape, broad pyriform. Seed, medium. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
HERNANDEZ (W.I.) (Syn. Manuel) Cuba Originated in 1916 in Santiago de las Vegas, Cuba. Fruit season, Nov.-Dec.; color, green; weight, 24-30 ozs.; shape, pyriform. Seed, medium. (CAS Yearbook 1950) Origin, Puerto Rico; Race, WI; Flowering group, A (Lahav & Gazit)
LUISA (W.I.) P.I. 40912 Introduced 1915 by F.W. Popenoe USDA, from Jovellanos, Cuba. Fruit color green; shape, broad, ovoid. Seed. medium. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
MACEO (Syn. Mayor Gral Antonio Maceo) Cuba A Cuban variety listed in 1917. Fruit season, Oct.-Dec.; size medium; shape, oval; flavor, excellent. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
MERCED (W.I.) P.I. 40981 Introduced 1915 by F.W. Popenoe USDA, from Placetas, Cuba. Fruit color, green; weight, 16 ozs.; shape, broad pyriform; flavor, excellent. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
RUSSELL (W.I.)FL Originated Islamorado,FL from seed of fruit brought from Cuba by John Russel & planted near his home about1880. Top-worked by Harvey Fitzpatrick, Homestead, FL in 1935, shortly before parent tree was destroyed by a hurricane. Fruit: season, Aug.-Sept.; color, green; weight, 24-36 ozs.; shape, clavate; skin, smooth, leathery. Seed, med. Sometimes solid neck of flesh 5-6″ long.(CAS Yearbook 1950) Orig. in Islamorado, FL by John Russell. Introd. in 1935. Seedling of West Ind. type from seed of fruit brought from Cuba about 1880. Fruit: large, 24-36 oz; often 12″long; clavate; skin green, smooth, leathery; flesh yellow; seed size med.; cavity low in the broad end of fruit, often a solid neck of flesh 5-6″long;season Aug.&Sept.Tree: vigorous; moderately productive. Flower group A. Not propagated commercially.(B&O Register) Origin, CA; Race, WI; Flower, A (Lahav & Gazit) (originated in Islamorada in FL Keys); pear-shaped at apex with long neck giving it a total length up to 13″(32.5cm); skin, smooth, glossy, thin, leathery; flesh of excellent quality; seed small. Season: Aug.&Sept.Tree bears well & is recommended for home gardens. (J Morton)
SANTA ANNA (W.I.) Cuba Originated near Santiago de las Vegas, Cuba, propagated 1916. Fruit: season, Oct.- Dec.; color, green; weight, 30-38 ozs.; shape, pyriform. Seed, small. (CAS Yearbook 1950)
VEGA Philippines Introduced 1906 from Cuba to Philippines. A regular but shy bearer. Fruit: season, Sept.; color, green; weight, 10-17 ozs.; shape, obovoid; skin, rough, glossy; flavor, good; fiber, few traces. Seed, large. (CAS Yearbook 1950) Origin, Cuba; Flowering group, A (Lahav & Gazit)
WILSON (W.I.) P.I. 40982 Introduced 1915 by F.W. Popenoe USDA, form Joaquin Wilson near Placetas, Cuba. Fruit: color, green; weight, 8-10 ozs.; shape, spherical. Seed, small. (CAS Yearbook 1950) Origin, Cuba; Race, WI; Flowering group, A (Lahav & Gazit)

You may learn more about avocados here: http://www.avocadosource.com/

This is a not the complete list yet its impressive the amount of varieties of avocados Cubans can enjoy. The Cuban avocado production its not as commercial but more of a local amateur based production.

When visiting a local market in Cuba one can find the avocados offer at the improvised markets all around each caring its own local favorite variety.

How do you enjoy your avocados?


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