Meet the Mother Tree That Spawned California’s Avocado Craze

Your avocado toast may be a California native.

Next time you’re mashing up some guacamole or slicing an avocado on your freshly baked toast, consider the history of one of your prize pieces of produce. Although the avocado originated in south-central Mexico, the delicious and highly coveted fruit also enjoys a California mythology, primarily because of its commercial success and vast consumption in the climate-friendly state. But did you know that its most popular variety, the Hass avocado is a true California native? In fact, nearly all Hass avocados can be traced to a single mother tree planted by A.R. Rideout in Whittier.

According to the official site for California Avocados, “In the late 1920s, Mr. Rudolph Hass, a postman, purchased a seed from Rideout, and planted it in his new orchard. He planned to graft another variety on it, but when repeated grafts didn’t take he planned to cut the tree down. Fortunately for avocado lovers everywhere, Hass’s children talked him out of it. They preferred the taste of the tree’s fruit to that of the Fuerte, the predominant variety and industry standard in those days.”

That original tree lived to be a ripe, old age of 76, but not before spawning seeds that would eventually transform the California avocado industry.

Read more about the birth of this uniquely Californian commodity here.

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