Worms and Flowers

Avocado:The Hass Cultivar-Part 4 of 5

Posted in Avocado by Lzyjo on June 18, 2009

The story of the Hass Avocado, the modern incarnation of this scandalous fruit, is perhaps even more incredible than its early history. In 1925, after seeing a photos of an avocado tree with dollar bills tied to it, Rudolph Hass a Californian mail carrier with no horticultural background purchased a number of avocado seeds from the, let’s just say, eccentric A.R. Rideout. Rideout scavenged avocado seeds, often from garbage cans, and sold them, as well as avocado plants. Hass was unable to afford seedlings on is 25 cent per hour salary, so he purchased seeds to plant in his small 1 1/2 acre grove that contained a few Fuerte avocado trees. He was instructed by Rideout to plant three seeds per hole, selecting the strongest ones to be the rootstock for grafts of Fuerte trees. Hass hired a professional to graft his trees. After the first attempt all but three of the tree accepted the grafts. The trees were regrafted but again there was one that would not accept the graft. The man advised Hass to let the tree grow because it looked strong and healthy. Ten years after planting his grove, Hass obtained the first patent on a tree for his Hass avocado and gained a following of local buyers who would purchase no other avocados but Hass’. Hass only made $5,000 from the patent because buyers would purchase one plants and then make their own cuttings from it once it was mature. Hass had heart problems the prevented him the enlisting in the Army, he prayed that he would live until the expiration of his patent. He died only several months after the expiration of his 17 year patent. His wife lived in their home for a long time, eating an avocado a day from the trees in their backyard. The original Hass avocado was cut down in 2002, at age 76, after a long battle with root rot. Today as much as 80% of avocados grown in the U.S. are of the Hass Cultivar.

Tomorrow I will be posting about allergies to avocados.

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  1. jgh said, on June 18, 2009 at 2:49 PM

    Good old Hass. His name lives on. They are supposed to be more flavorful than the ones grown in Florida – always seem to be the same price but half the size.

    I didn’t realize that they were smaller! I think Hass is all they sell around here, I don’t think I’ve had tasted the other kinds.

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