Doesn’t this look like an enchanted forest? I called it the enchanted avocado forest when I was there. Those are avocado trees – 40 year old ones. I have never seen avocado trees growing like this, until now.
My good friend Mimi Holtz is married to an avocado farmer – a 4th generation avocado farmer named Ed. They own and operate this family farm. They sell avocados direct to the public through their website called California Avocados Direct. Mimi also has a great blog called Mimi Avocado and this woman KNOWS avocados!
Avocado trees do not grow from seeds. The seedling must be grafted to an existing tree in order to get the fruit. Most fruits with seeds need to be grafted in order to create a new tree with fruit. Simply planting an avocado seed will not produce a tree with fruit. Grafting is a way of cloning the fruit to create new trees. You can even use the roots of one tree and graft it into a different variety. They go through a long juvenile period before bearing fruit. When a stem with buds is grafted to a stem with roots, this “new” tree will start to produce fruit in about three years.
It is also a common practice to “stump” certain trees for different reasons. Mimi has a very mature ranch so some trees became so huge, they were very difficult to harvest so they cut them down. Avocado trees can grow back! – as long as the stump is taken care of. Mimi has a great article on her blog about this.
The two images above are both called Reed avocados. The ones on the left will take another year to grow to maturity. The one on the right is fully matured. In fact, Mimi let me snip it off the tree to take home. It ripened in a about a week and was really tasty. Reeds are HUGE. That Reed was a few pounds, the size of a canon ball.
Here is a shot of Mimi holding a Reed that is close to being harvested.
I was on the ranch when there were still new red blooming leaves on the trees in June. They really were quite beautiful. It was interesting how all the trees had two stages of growth on them, the babies that will take a year to grow, and also the fruit that has been growing for a year that is ready for harvest.
The shot above has Hass avocados on it ready to be picked.
When a Hass tree is by itself, it will grow round and bushy like the trees in the image below. Those are all Hass trees on the left. To the right is a wee baby little Hass avocado. They have their bumpy skin from when they first start growing.
They are very sensitive to the sun. They can get sunburned too. Mimi says that the trees can’t really handle every single fruit it produces, so it’s kind of a form of natural selection. The ones that do the best are in the shade. The ones in the sun won’t do so well.
Above is a shot looking up into the huge canopy of one of Mimi’s Hass groves. The fruit grows at the top so they have to be picked with very tall ladders. See the little black dots towards the middle right of the photo? Those are avocados ready to be picked.
Below, are some of the avocados I got to take home with me. The one on the left was a massive Reed with two Hass avocados leaning on it. They were delicious!
Mimi sent me home with about 8 or 9 avocados. I let them ripen on the kitchen table. You are not supposed to put them in the fridge. At one point I had about 5 or 6 ripe at the same time, so I made a huge batch of guacamole at a friend’s house. Getting avocados straight from the farm really IS the way to go. They have so much flavor and the quality is so much better than what you buy in the stores.
You can get avocados just like these from California Avocados Direct. They are hand picked and hand packed in a very sturdy, double box with packing material so they arrive perfectly at your door.
Oh, in case you were wondering – this was not a sponsored post. Well, OK, Mimi and my friend Chef Debbi Dubs did make us a fabulous lunch that day.
This is not a sponsored post. Mimi is a good friend of mine and gave us a fabulous tour to give us a glimpse of what her farm life is like.
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