To save the beloved ingredient, horticulturists have been working to develop a variety that can grow year-round in California (as opposed to the current season, which runs from February through September), and NPR reports this week that there is now a trio of promising-looking '
UC Riverside researcher Mary Lu Arpaia has spent 20 years trying to produce an avocado tree that can handle central California's coldest and hottest months. She's optimistic about a type called the GEM, which is related to the Hass avocados most people buy in stores.
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The slightly more ovular GEM grows lower to ground, has a higher yield, and doesn't need much space — all great traits for weather resistance.
It also beat Hass in a recent series of taste tests. The other two: a small variety called the "Lunchbox" (a subliminal message about when to consume it), and one that still needs a name, but
California grows 90 percent of America's avocados right now. But Americans eat more than 4 billion of the things every year, and such a colossal number still requires the U.S. to import 85 percent of them, mostly from Mexican farmers.
During winter's off-months, that amount rises to almost 100 percent. A year-round Golden State supply would obviously lower the price, thereby keeping avocado-toast addicts' kvetching at a minimum, and it's also a win for farmers because the fruit could theoretically thrive anywhere that growing conditions are similar to California's.