The drought conditions in California make it more and more challenging to cultivate Hass Avocados, especially in Southern California where most of them come from. This year the organic California Hass season ended more quickly than it has in the past decade. Typically, we are bombarded with beautiful, organically-grown avocados for about 10 months out of the year but the quality of the Hass can drop dramatically during the winter months, so a lot of them are imported from Chile and Mexico to fill the gap. In recent years at the Market we’ve been focusing our attention on other seasonal avocados to fill the void before Hass season starts. These seasonal varieties may not have the same high-oil content and rich buttery texture, but they’re unique in their own ways and a pleasure to eat.
The one winter variety that has the produce lovers at Bi-Rite excited this time of year is the Sir Prize Avocado grown by Tenalu in Porterville, CA. The Sir Prize avocado was created during the Open Pollination Breeding Trial by the University of California, and it’s considered the “Grandchild of the Hass.” The Sir Prize is able to grow in colder climates and ripens 2 months before the Hass in California.
The Sir Prize is a thin-skinned, pear-shaped avocado that turns black and get very soft when it’s perfectly ripe. They also have the most flesh-to-seed/skin ratio of any commercial avocado. It has a nutty taste, and it’s high-oil so it’s great in guacamole or just sprinkled with a bit of salt and lemon. Avocados are most commonly thrown on a sandwich or whipped up into guacamole, but if you like to eat seasonally, they pair really well with another crop that’s in season– citrus! Try our Fennel, Blood Orange, Avocado Salad recipe from Eat Good Food, that highlights three of our favorite seasonal produce items and pairs them with Dungeness crab. We are staying optimistic for California’s Dungeness Crab Season this year, as crab really takes this salad over the top! Even without the crab this salad demonstrates how fresh California winter can taste with clean raw fennel, sweet citrus, and wonderfully nutty avocado. Since Blood Orange season has yet to begin, try it with Navel Oranges or Satsuma Mandarins. If you love to eat with the seasons, don’t miss the Sir Prize Avocado! Come by one of the markets and ask for a taste today.