Several avocado varieties complement the big leader

03/28/2014 10:22:00 AM
Tom Burfield

“It stretches our California season, which is something that is attractive to both customers and growers,” he said.

Heritage varieties

Some people like the concept of a “heritage variety,” said Rob Wedin, vice president of sales and fresh marketing for Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif., while others like the lower price of some of the less popular avocados.

Calavo offers some bacon, pinkerton, fuerte, zutano, reed and macarthur varieties, he said, but the company doesn’t sell very many of them.

“When it comes to making money, hass is the chosen variety — or in some cases — lamb hass,” he said.

Varieties other than hass account for less than a half of a percent of the firm’s avocado volume, he said.

They also account for “way less than 1%” at Giumarra, said Bruce Dowhan, vice president of The Giumarra Cos., Los Angeles, and general manager of Giumarra Agricom International LLC, Escondido, Calif.

The company sells a small volume of fuerte, banana and zutano, which growers use as cross-pollinators.

Specialty retailers, farmers markets and those looking for a lower-priced avocado are the main customers for those varieties, Dowhan said.

The lamb hass variety has been of value to retailers looking for large fruit who want to stick with avocados from California, said Gahl Crane, director at Green Earth Produce, Vernon, Calif.

“It’s been a good fit,” he said.

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