A little-known group of avocado varieties, originally from the mountains of Mexico, can handle winter freezes much lower than commercially grown avocados, down to 15 to 18F (-7 to -9C). These varieties tend to have medium to smallish fruits with outstandingly rich flavor, some of the best tasting of any avocados. These cold-hardy Mexican avocados can grow and produce fruit here in North Florida, and other places with similar climates. (Elsewhere on this website there’s a full guide to these cultivars.)
My friend Oliver Moore has been growing these Mexican avocado varieties here in the Gainesville, Florida area for twenty years, and has accumulated a large amount of experience in how to get them to thrive and produce crops.
On Sunday, July 29, Oliver will host a public avocado workshop at his home just outside Gainesville. He will be talking about how to plant and care for these varieties, how to propagate them, dealing with pests and diseases, and the characteristics of the different cultivars. He will lead a tour around his yard, showing the various avocado trees he has growing there, many of which are carrying nice crops of fruit.
Best of all, there will be a fruit tasting, where samples of some of the early-ripening fruits of these varieties will be available to taste.
If you want to start your own planting of avocado trees, Oliver will have cold-hardy avocado plants available for sale, both seedling and grafted, as well as a number of other types of fruit trees that he grows in his nursery.
The seedling avocado plants Oliver has available have the potential to have very interesting genetics. Oliver started out planting named-variety cold hardy avocado varieties in his yard, but over the years those plants cross-pollinated and and many of the resulting seedlings have come into bearing with excellent fruit. Having all those excellent varieties all in close proximity, all pollinating one another, means that Oliver’s small property has become probably one of the leading hot spots of cold-hardy avocado germplasm in North Florida. Seedlings from this population have a good chance of being becoming the next generation of excellent named cultivars.
This event is on Sunday, July 29, from 10 to 2. Be sure to arrive at the early end of that time frame if you want to participate in the fruit tasting.
7405 NE 22nd Ln, Gainesville, FL 32641
WARNING: Do NOT use Google Maps to get there; it will very likely take you to the wrong location. Bing Maps gets this address correct, here is the Bing map for Oliver’s place.