AvoTerra Avocados
Avocado History

What Are They?
Avocados are a fruit that grows on a tree and can be technically classified as a berry. They have a taste that ranges from rich, creamy and buttery to light and fruity, depending on the variety. There are many varieties of avocados, several of which are grown commercially. The Hass variety is the most popular commercially grown variety and has a deep, rich flavor. Avocados are ready to eat when they are slightly soft and yield to gentle pressure. The skin is peeled away and the flesh of the fruit is eaten. Avocados can be eaten by themselves or used for guacamole, sandwiches, salads, omelets, desserts and much more.

History
The avocado is native to the area stretching from the eastern and central highlands of Mexico through Guatemala to the Pacific coast of Central America. There is evidence that avocados have been utilized in Mexico for 10,000 years. The Spanish Conquistadors were the first Europeans to discover the fruit, native to the Americas, which the indigenous people of Mexico, Central America and South America had been using for thousands of years. Martin Fernandez De Encisco wrote the first published account of the fruit in 1519, announcing its existence to Europe. Naturalist Sir Hans Sloan was the first to use the name “avocado,” in a catalogue of Jamaican plants he published in 1696. During the 1700s, European sailors used the avocado as a spread for biscuits, which led to the name “midshipman’s butter.” Avocado trees were introduced to California by 1856, when tree brought from Nicaragua was noticed growing near San Gabriel. In 1911, Carl Schmidt, a plant explorer, collected budwood of a seedling that eventually became the Fuerte. This variety was the basis of the California avocado industry for many years. Avocados were introduced in Florida by 1850, and, in the 1930s, autumn and winter varieties were adapted. While commercial varieties of avocados arrived in Chile from California in 1928, avocados have been growing in that country since colonial times. The avocado arrived in Indonesia in 1750, Brazil in 1809, Israel in 1908, and South Africa and Australia in the late 19th century. In the late 1920s, Mr. Rudolph Hass discovered what would become the Hass variety. It is currently the most widely grown commercial and popular avocado variety.

The Many Names of the Avocado
The scientific name for avocado is Persea Americana.
The Aztecs first called the fruit aoacatl, which was later translated into ahuacatl.
The most common English name for this fruit is avocado, modified from the early Spanish name aguacate or ahuacate.
In Jamaica, and at one time in Florida, the common name was alligator pear.
The common Dutch name for the fruit is advocaat or avocat.
The German common name is Abakate.
The common name in Portuguese is abacate.
A common name in some South American countries is palta, which is the name originally used by the Incas.
In the 1700s, it was called midshipman’s butter by European sailors.
Avocados are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Magnoliales, family Lauraceae.


Sources:

The Avocado: Botany, Production and Uses
www.avocado.org
www.ucavo.ucr.edu
www.avocadosource.com