Seen at the the Pinecrest Whole Foods on Friday.
The time has come to pick avocados. Last week Farmer Margie mustered her crew of mostly volunteers and they went through the grove to gather the first of the season. Thirty bushels of certified organic Donnie avocados went straight to the area Whole Foods warehouse, and I’m told that the fruit just flew out of the stores. This week Margie’s crew picked again, and she took 30 more bushels to the WF warehouse on Thursday. I found her Donnie avocados at the Pinecrest Market on Friday afternoon. They are selling for $3.49 each, ouch! But even at that price, there may not be many left today.
But all is not lost. I’ve learned about Number Two fruit. Those are avocados that have scuff marks on their skins, superficial blemishes that that are bigger than a certain allowed size. The fruit rubbed against a branch while it was maturing and it made for a dark mark. Stores don’t like blemished fruit, but they are just as good.
Last week I bought a half bushel of Number Twos to re-sell to friends and co-workers for $2.50 each. Like their pristine brethren that went to WF, these avocados sold very fast. This week I sprang for a full bushel of Twos. People wanted more, or saw they missed out and were calling me with orders.
This dramatic scuff mark is cosmetic, doesn't affect the flesh inside. Whole Foods doesn't want this fruit, but I do!
Local fruit makes people happy! Case in point, I took a half bushel of avocados to my doctor’s office. She is a holistic practitioner, and she and her hard working staff and patients know that avocados are good for you. I staggered in with the heavy box of fruit, set it on the floor, and everybody pounced. My doctor did the most interesting thing — she cradled a large green avocado to herself, stroked it with her hand, and giggled with delight. Other staffers were smiling as they sorted through the box. One woman picked out a fruit, then another, then went off with three avocados clutched to her chest. Altogether a dozen avocados found new homes so quickly I felt almost giddy.
I saw that grin, heard that giggle, and watched people pet and stroke the smooth, green shiny skinned avocados over and over on Thursday and Friday as I made my deliveries. And once you’ve actually eaten a Donnie from Bee Heaven, that’s it, you’re hooked on the creamy, nutty flavor. Last week a friend got one avocado, then ask me for four more this week. “Are you sure,” I asked. “Oh yes,” was her answer, said with a smile and sigh of bliss. “I want them. They’re buttery.”
Another thing I heard often is, “I’m going to eat the whole avocado for lunch.” Easy to say now, when the fruit is only about a pound and a half in size. Wait a few weeks when they have increased to three pounds — or more. Last summer a friend claimed that he could eat a whole three pound avocado by himself in one sitting. “That’s a pretty big avocado. I can only eat half or less at one time,” I cautioned. My friend boasted, “I’m a big guy, and I have a big stomach. I can eat it.” He took the avocado home and that was the last I heard of it. It’s quite possible that a three pound avocado defeated a 200 pound man.
So, I get a little crazed this time of year, phoning people — “Hey, I got some green crack*, let me know how many you want” — and driving around town with a bushel of avocados in my car. I do it because Margie’s fruit makes people happy, and I’m glad I can bring them a bit of joy. That’s the power of local food. Once you’ve tasted it, you know.
*That’s a Margie joke.
Nutrition facts and analysis for Florida avocados
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