Colombia is Growing Hass

Although Colombians are More Familiar with the Massive Avocado Varieties

by Keith Agoada

Colombian Avocado

Here in the United States (outside of Florida which grows tropical varieties), when people think of the avocado, almost everyone pictures the Hass. The small green fruit that ripens black and has a luscious, oil rich, fatty green pulp. The one we put in our guacamole. The avocado that is shipped from California and Mexico to the continental United States, and has skyrocketed in popularity over the last 10 years.

However, if you ask someone in Colombia about avocados (or as they call them, aguacate) they picture a big, watery fruit with a thin green skin. There are many varieties of tropical avocados planted all over Colombia, but most are larger and less fatty then the Hass variety common in Mexico and California.

It's common to find street vendors in Bogota and Medellin (the two major cities of Colombia) selling enormous avocados to the public. The Colombians don't think twice about seeing these gigantic avos. However, as a "Gringo" I can't help but be amazed that avocados can be enormous!

The Hass avocado is now making it to supermarkets in Colombia but only as a secondary option for exporters unable to ship B grade or smaller sized fruits. Many Colombians have told me they prefer the traditional varieties, and experts believe it will take years, if not generations to fully adopt the Hass as a popular domestic variety.

Most commonly, I see these massive avocado varieties at restaurants in sliced form as part of a traditional plate that may include rice, plantain, and meat.

It is unlikely anything besides the Hass will be exported to the United States due to a strong domestic demand, weak US demand, and the fact that the tropical varieties of avocado don't store and ship as well as the Hass.