Avocado, Persea americana

Avocado, Persea americana

The month of September always seems like a turning point for me, signaling the end of summer with “back-to-school”, and life’s headlights begin to pick out the faint outlines of the holiday season ahead.  Around here, we also tend to mark our calendars by which fruits are in season.

Our feature fruit for September is the ever-popular Avocado, Persea americana.  This member of the Laurel family, indigenous to Central America, produces one of the most popular fruits in the world.  Avocado has been cultivated for thousands of years.  Early explorers transported seeds from the New World and they have found their way to nearly every Tropical and Mediterranean culture.

Many examples can be seen throughout the park, from named varieties to volunteer seedlings.  We have chosen to highlight the Avocado this month, but here in South Florida, different varieties will be harvested nearly year-round.  You will also notice differences in the fruit—some are rough-skinned and darker in color, some are smooth and brighter green.  This is because there are three types or landraces, West Indian, Guatemalan, and Mexican.  Most of the varieties we grow today are hybrids among these types that blend desirable traits from each, such as season, fruit size, and of course taste!

Abui on tree limbSlightly more unusual, but also just as delicious is the Abiu or Pouteria caimito.  This relative of Canistel and Mamey Sapote produces a smooth, bright yellow fruit that is described as having the flavor of caramel flan.  It can be grown from seed, but fruit quality varies greatly so it is best to get a grafted tree from a nursery for best results.  Originating in Amazonia, Abiu has been adopted by cultures around the tropical world.

I hope you will be able to join us at the Fruit and Spice Park and enjoy the fruits of all seasons.  There is always something interesting happening, and growing, here.  Our event season is in view, with GrowFest! happening October 19-20, 2019, celebrating all things local, organic, and healthy.