California Could Have an Avocado Crop Year-Round

Avocado lovers rejoice. Now, with a wall between the US and Mexico or no, you won't have to worry about your supply to this rich, green, vegetable butter being cut off. Well, maybe not.

Last year, Americans consumed 2 billion pounds of avocados, two-thirds of which were imported, mostly from Mexico. That's because even though California is known as the home of all things avocado, the fruit doesn't grow exceptionally well in the Golden State's climate.

However, researchers are aiming to change that.

So Where Do California Avocados Come From Then?

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The avocados that are grown in California are currently grown in the southern part of the state along a narrow swath of coastline. However, if the growing region could be expanded into the Central Valley - California's agricultural powerhouse- that would alter the entire dynamic of avocado production.

Should researchers be able to discover a variety of avocado that can withstand the frosty winters and toasty summers of central California, then it will soon be American farmers who will reap the benefits of America's avocado addiction. However, the question remains which variety is up to the task.

What Is There Besides Haas Avocados?

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For the last 20 years, researcher Mary Lu Arpaia has searched for an avocado for the Central Valley. So far she has found three candidates.

One is called the GEM avocado. Eric Focht, a colleague of Arpaia describes the GEM avocados as "a little more oval or egg-shaped than Hass. It has the speckling on the skin. As it ripens, it will turn dark, and a lot of times the speckled lenticels [pores through which gases are exchanged] will get a ... golden color to it."

In fact, during taste tests conducted by Westfalia Fruit Estates, a South African company marketing GEM worldwide, this newcomer scored as tastier than the well-known Hass variety.

Another variety is the "lunchbox" avocado. The third potential candidate remains unnamed but is no less promising as a potential moneymaker.

Arpaia told NPR that "lunchbox" and the nameless variety should be hitting the American market within the next two years.

Keep your eyes peeled. With things starting to heat up this summer, finding the 'American avocado' may just be what we all need.

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