My Alligator Pear Tree


Seven years ago I planted an Avocado Tree in my back yard. More about that later.

When I was a kid the fruit was called “alligator pear.” Ugh!  What a horrible name for a fruit.  They were expensive, they only came from California and they really didn’t go well with that Indiana staple, three bean casserole.

I moved to California in ’81 and it happened to be the same time the Avocado growers decided they wanted to make the fruit sexy. They put together the typical “ad-push.”  First you create your own “Nutrition Advisory Committee.” Then you put out “Studies” that show how healthy eating Avocados is for each of us. Then you find the sexiest woman of 1981 and get her to do and ad for eating Avocados.

They did that too:
Angie Dickinson Ad

They had to train people in the Midwest and East how and when to eat them. Most folks bought them home when they were bright green and tried to eat them. Yuck!  Avocados don’t ripen until you get them home. When the skin starts to turn a yucky brown, they are just right.

The word Avocado comes from the Aztec language “ahuacacuahatl” which literally means “testicle tree.”  The Avocado growers decided not to put that info out there.

Then two wonderful things happened. People’s taste-buds started to become “Mexicanized” and guacamole was discovered.  Secondly, the very sharp advertising team decided they had to be a part of Super Bowl Sunday.

In California, Avocados are ripe in January. What a perfect time to unload the entire crop over night.  Contests started in the early ‘90s called the “Guacamole Bowl.”
Guacamole
They solicited recipes from NFL players and their families. The 1992 Philadelphia Eagles perfect recipe for Guac was: 4 ripe avocados, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, pepper sauce and optional garnish of Pasadena Red Rose petals. The contest got millions of hits and guacamole became one of the standards with wings and pizza on Super Bowl Sunday.

The only other week that still sells more avocados in “Cinco de Mayo.”

Mexico grows Avocados year-round and now they are available everywhere year-round.

About my tree:  It usually takes five years before an Avocado tree bears fruit. The fourth year I picked 19 wonderful Hass Avocados from my tree. Then the damn thing stopped producing and started growing. Last year it was over 40 feet tall and 15 feet wide. We chopped the hell out it, and this year it’s even bigger. It won’t produce fruit.

Last week I went to my favorite nursery to attend a pruning lecture.  I also have two plum trees, two lemon trees, a peach, an apricot,a lime tree and a big fat blood orange tree. When the pruning-lesson was over I cornered the expert and told him my woeful story of no fruit on my avocado tree.

He asked when I had my last meal. I said, “Look at me, it looks like I have a meal every hour”

He smiled and said, “I see that, now tell me, when was the last time you fed your avocado tree?”

I slinked away, picked up some “food” for my tree and gave it a wonderful meal.

Sorry, Mr.Testicle tree, I promise to do better in the future.

About bakoheat

Writer/Musician
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7 Responses to My Alligator Pear Tree

  1. fiddlrts says:

    My mom grew up in Mexico, so we always had avocados around. When I was a kid, I wasn’t fond of them plain. Guac, on the other hand, was divine. Now that my tastes have matured, I recognize the alligator pear as one of the world’s most perfect foods. So very good.

    The best avocado I ever had was in Hawaii (big island). I don’t know the variety, but they were round rather than oblong, and HUGE. As in bigger than a softball. The second best is the Bacon avocado, which is also round, and can be found from time to time out at the San Luis Obispo farmer’s market. So very creamy and good.

    I haven’t had much success growing them, however, despite my general prowess with citrus. Our yard has a microclimate that somehow magnifies the cold during the worst freezes. (Keeping my limes alive has required a good bit of work.) If we get a long term warming trend, maybe I can try again.

    • bakoheat says:

      I can’t believe I don’t have the Hawaii avocado in my food memory bank. I made over 50 trips there in a 25 year period. I guess I was all hung up on there spam.

  2. Robert D. Levinson says:

    Time was I resided in Ventura County, in the city of Saticoy. It’s a huge producer of citrus and avocadoes. I enjoyed strolling about the scent of orange/lemon blossoms in the air. An avocado rancher informed me of the dangers of tracking diseases or fungus through an orchard contaminating it. He was a nice guy and said I could do my stroll through the citrus just not the susceptible avocado fields, there was a lot at stake, mucho dinero. Lesson learned!

  3. Robert D. Levinson says:

    Feeding it should do the trick’

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