Friday, February 14, 2014


Have you ever eaten an avocado straight off the tree?  A truly fresh avocado melts in your mouth like butter.  My experience of eating that ambrosial treat occurred when Hank and I were on a vacation in the Baha in 1978.  After we returned home I bought one at the local grocery store.  So disappointing! I thought it was not only tasteless but sort of slimy.

 Nowadays avocados  from  the  supermarket aren’t that bad, a bit like comparing a store-bought tomato to a sun-ripened one from the backyard garden.  A few years ago someone told me that avocados have more potassium than bananas which I don't like.  She also told me  that if you put an avocado in your flour bin for several days it would have a much better flavor, so I thought I’d try it. Unfortunately I rarely make a cake  or thicken my gravy with flour. I totally forgot about the avocado, and once I remember, it was a big soggy mess.

Waste not, want not, so I decided to take the nut and make myself a house plant.  Have you ever tried that?  I have a book titled “Dictionary for Gardeners” that has a good definition of an avocado plant.  “As a bonus in every avocado, nature includes a free houseplant – a large nut that if balanced over a glass of water on toothpicks until it develops root hairs, and when potted will eventually become an uninteresting two or three foot tall plant that will never bear fruit.” That perfect definition really tickled my funny bone. 

Last Saturday when I was still trying to come up with an appropriate subject for this column, the  Wall Street Journal arrived and provided me with the solution – a long article on  avocados.  I was so relieved that once I’d read the first paragraph and learned that  Americans eat more guacamole  on Super Bowl Sunday than at any other time, I stopped reading and began writing this column.  

A mistake. The article, a full page and a half, is all about  the total mayhem going on in  Michoacan, the only state in Mexico certified to export avocados to the U.S. A violent criminal gang called the Knights Templar has been allegedly using extortion, kidnapping, rape and homicide against the avocado growers in the area.  

Burned trailer trucks and packing houses,  forced fees of up to $150 million a year demanded, avocado plantations taken over -  murder and rape by this gang seemed unstoppable. I didn’t think my readers would need to hear about these many horrors, and apparently  the Knights Templar have now been brought under controlled in most parts of the state.  

Local vigilantes, heavily armed, and assisted by federal forces are finally taking control of much of the area..  Just possibly the price of avocados will stop rising.  I guess I should have known the WSJ would have far more information about war than gardening. 

1 comment:

  1. No I have not, but understand exactly what you mean about the difference between fresh from the tree products and that from the supermarkets!