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It’s Time to Enjoy Florida Avocados

June 17, 2015

savetheguaciconcopyFlorida Avocados are appearing at local supermarkets and farmers’ markets. It is easy to distinguish a Florida avocado from the Hass avocados produced in California. Florida avocados are larger, and unlike the Hass variety, most of the Florida fruits generally do not become dark in color as they ripen. The skin of Florida avocados is smooth and green whereas the California variety has a bumpy skin.

GuacFans look forward to the Florida harvest, which begins in June. Sounding a bit like wine connoisseurs, avocado aficionados have described the flavor of the Florida fruit as displaying “subtle notes of grass and nuts, such as almonds and filberts.” Pairings include citrus, tomatoes, salt, herbs like cilantro and basil and fresh, aged and blooming rind style cheeses. It’s a fruit that’s fun to experiment with in the kitchen.

Although commercial production is limited to a region in Miami-Dade County, avocado production makes a substantial economic contribution to the Sunshine State’s economy.

State Chef Justin Timieri with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has posted some enticing recipes starring Florida avocados, like this soup (we prefer it served cold), and this Florida blue crab and avocado salad, which is almost as pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate.

AvocadoCrabSaladUnfortunately, Florida avocados are under attack from laurel wilt disease, spread by the invasive redbay ambrosia beetle. The beetle introduces a fungus into host trees. This threat to an important Florida crop has led to the Save the Guac campaign. You can learn more about the disease and the campaign — and see Chef Timieri actually make a batch of guac — here.

You can also help retard the spread of the redbay ambrosia beetle and the disease by the simple act of not moving firewood when you travel or camp, and purchasing only certified firewood at your destination.

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