There are a few things to know about the Hass avocado. First of all, it’s not the only avocado on the market. It’s not even the best avocado on the market. Like most commercial fruit, the variety was selected for production and appearance. The long growing season promises heavy output, and the pebbly skin hides blemishes from supermarket customers.
Also, you’re most likely pronouncing it wrong. If you think it rhymes with “moss,” you are mistaken. Instead, take the H off the top and say what’s left out loud. Now add the H back. That’s how you pronounce Hass.
At this Wednesday’s Santa Monica Farmers market, I was schooled by Karen Beverlin, produce buyer for FreshPoint SoCal. “Hoss was the brother on Bonanza,” she told me, “Hass is the avocado.”
Farmer Laura Ramirez at JJ’s Lone Daughter Ranch is more direct. “I just tell people it rhymes with ass,” she says before letting out one of her infectious giggles.
Today, 95 percent of the avocados grown in California are Hass, but Ramirez has less commercial varieties like Bacon, Pinkerton, Fuerte, and her newest addition, Sir Prize. Aside from being fun to say, Sir Prize avocados outperform Hass in terms of size, fruit-to-seed ratio, and the exotic fact that they don’t brown when cut. This final attribute makes it the perfect candidate for guacamole or restaurant kitchens where other varieties will quickly oxidize into an unappealing shade of brown.
At $7 an avocado, it’s unlikely to become a mainstay at your local Mexican restaurant, but Ramirez says the anti-oxidizing properties hold true even when mixed with other varieties. Adding one Sir Prize to your next batch of guacamole should help preserve the color. Plus, at 83 percent flesh (the average avocado is 60 to 70 percent), a Sir Prize offers more avocado per piece of fruit than a Hass, which weighs less and has a larger seed.
You can find Sir Prize on the menu at Rustic Canyon where chef Jeremy Fox garnishes his signature beets and berries dish with plump wedges of the avocado, but should you happen to splurge on one this weekend at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market, a simple avocado toast will suffice. Just remember to leave one bite uneaten and marvel at the way it never turns brown.
JJ’s Lone Daughter can be found at the Wednesday and Saturday Santa Monica markets and the Sunday Hollywood market. Follow Ramirez on Instagram to see what new varieties she is bringing each week.