It’s no doubt that many Americans love avocados, with 2 billion pounds having been consumed in 2016, according to an NPR report; however, access to America’s favorite fruit may be under threat, with talk that the Donald Trump administration might renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico, where avocados grow year-round and from which a majority of America’s supply was imported last year. Luckily, researchers in California are working on developing new varieties of the crop to be grown all year.
Most avocados in California are grown in the southern part of the state, but researchers such as Mary Lu Arpaia have their sights set on growing avocados in the Central Valley, where most of the state’s produce is grown. The catch is finding a variety of avocado that can survive the valley’s varying seasons. To do so, researchers are in search of shorter avocado trees that can be planted in closer proximity to each other. One variety that may fit the bill is called GEM, which is related to the Hass avocado — the most widely consumed variety in America.
“I want our avocado varieties to be in season for more than one week," Arpaia told NPR. "I want it where you can say it's July — it's time to pick this variety.”
Two other varieties that fit the bill are the “lunchbox,” named because of its small size, and a nameless breed that Arpaia says “makes wonderful guacamole, and I found with a non-replicated test in my refrigerator the fruit doesn't brown.”