I was just looking to add a container grown Avocado and came accross a really interesting variety called GEM. From most accounts this is a very prolific dwarf that is every bit as tasty as Haas. Only problem is, it’s exceptionally hard to find. Anyone here have any experience with this variety?
Sorry to revive an old post, @Calron, but I saw these in the grocery store here and bought a few, so thought I’d share my opinion on them.
The good? Large fruit, with very good flavor and smooth texture (other than the fiber strands), and they seem to reliably change color about one day before being fully ripe on the counter, so that’s nice.
The bad? Thick, corky skin that breaks and crumbles easily, so this is a scooper not a peeler. Also, they have quite a bit more noticeable fiber than Hass, though the filaments are thin and not too noticeable in the mouth.
A couple photos, second one shows the fiber:
Thanks for the taste/texture report. I did hold off on trying these from back when I posted this originally. Knowing now, it’s a pretty solid (flavor wise) avocado, I may look into one sometime this summer when I make more yard space
Also worth noting that someone with more experience than me with this cultivar replied to my tweets to say that GEM usually doesn’t have a fiber issue, but it could be seasonal or based on conditions at a particular farm:
Here is an article from someone who has experience with this cultivar (and other avocados): https://gregalder.com/yardposts/the-gem-avocado-tree-a-profile/
Very detailed! It’s interesting that also doesn’t mention anything about the fruit being fibrous, but all five (just had one more) that I bought had lots of fiber. It’s a shame if the main farm distributing them here for the first time had that issue this year. If they keep offering them as the season progresses I’ll see if they improve next month.
Greg is a leading Avocado expert. I read his blog weekly.
Ricardo’s nursery in Long Beach has 15 gal trees if anyone is looking for this variety. I know that they also ship 5 gal plants but I’m not sure about the bigger plants.
FYI this cultivar is recently off patent, so you can now get it from the UC Riverside avocado grove as scionwood. I confirmed this with them a few months ago, the patent expired early last year.
Commercial avocado orchard trees are top-worked every 15-20 years lest they become too tall to efficiently harvest. About 3 decades ago Gem was experimentally top-worked on side orchards in Fallbrook CA. The packing houses that purchase from the growers found it inferior to improved Hass cultivars and did not offer as much per pound. It has since been removed.
As I’ve mentioned before on this site, the “Hass” that you buy at a supermarket or are served at a restaurant (e.g. Rubio’s) is not the “Hass” plant sold at nurseries. A knowledgeable nursery person will tell you latter is the original cultivar but there are many improved varieties – the most desired among them is currently Lulu. Thus, when someone says their avocado is as good or better than Hass, they are either mis-informed or purposely misleading, because it is not difficult to find improvements from the original.
As for restaurants and produce markets, “Hass” is a USDA grade of avocado with certain minimum requirements for oil content, skin texture, etc. For example, several CA packing houses will certify locally-grown “Stewart” as Hass grade. This is why you find “Hass” available in markets almost year round from successive-ripening cultivars instead of once per year from the original Hass.
Great info. Thank you for sharing this!