Buckle Up For an Avocado History Lesson

Our knee-jerk reaction to learning National Guacamole Day was yesterday (Sept. 16) was "Oh, no! We're coming in a day late!" But then we thought about it for a minute and were like, "Phshshsst. Like we need an excuse to make and/or love guacamole…like we need a special day? Bah!" Rest assured we DEMOLISHED a thing of guac and got some avocados to take home for later, and rest assured that we've scoured the reference section of our local library to bring to you a bunch of totally interesting and 100% completely factual in every single way facts about the avocado. Y'all ready for this (buh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh)?

-So you've probably been walking around your whole life thinking, "Dang, avos are totally my favorite vegetable!" But if you're a semantics jerk, you probably already know they're actually a fruit. See, it's about the flesh and the seed (or, if you will in this case, the pit). So go forth at parties and interrupt conversations like, "Actually, it's a fruit!" while your friends and neighbors start hating your guts.

-Some people reportedly call the avocado an "alligator pear." We don't know who does this—we've never heard anyone do this—but it's apparently a thing.

-You can be fairly sure that your avocados weren't grown in the US. Oh, sure—California grown a shocking amount with something like 3,000 growers taking up roughly 50,000 acres of avocado-growin' land, but most of them hail from Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

-There are seven kinds of avocado grown domestically and over 500 in existence, but the Haas is the best one. Ask anybody. Anything else is some pinche Trader Joe's bullshit that comes in a mesh sack. Now Us? We wanna only be able to hold one avocado at a time. We're Haas people.

-People in the US eat something like 7 pounds of avocados per year, though it's unclear whether that's in guacamole form or not. L'Fork eats 7 pounds of guacamole per week, so…yeah. Anyway, that's a pretty huge bump from the 1980s, when we apparently only ate about 1 pound.

-Avocados are ancient? How ancient are they? Something about your mothers! But in all seriousness, the alligator pear (ope, guess we do use that sometimes) was around as early as the Cenozoic era, and mammoths apparently loved those suckers. How do they know this? And who are they? Well, according to Dr. Alan Grant, a paleontologist we know, through carbon dating and petrified poop and pits found places and such. Now, do note that we made that last bit up, and that Dr. Alan Grant is the guy from Jurassic Park.

-Looking at the noble avocado from an etymological standpoint, we can trace the origins of its name back to the ancient peoples of Mexico and Central America and the word Ahuacatl, a Nahuatl word meaning "testicles." For you see, dear readers, sometimes avocados grow in pairs, and when they do you'd better believe they look like balls.

-Remember earlier when we were like "Haas avocados forever, Pinkertons never!"? Well, according to legend, we can thank a California mailman named Rudolph Haas who came into possession of those sweet, sweet pits and grew himself a tree. As the story goes, fruit took so long that he just kind of lost interest, but then one day the magical Haas appeared. Of course, it wasn't called the Haas yet, nobody knows where he got the seeds or why that magic one was in there, but it's good news for all of us, from wooly mammoths to The Fork's mom. Anyway, the Haas variety growing process was reportedly perfected in 1945 and Haas himself died in 1952.

-Finally, and this one's for all you would-be botanists out there, the avocado apparently can hang out on a tree for up to 18 months, and in that time it won't really ripen until it's plucked. Seems a much more efficient way of being than a bunch of stupid grapes and apples rotting on the vine. Is avocado wine a thing? Probably not. Even if it were, it sounds gross and wrong. Like whale cheese, y'know? Like, you could probably figure out how to make whale cheese, but would you want it? We'd probably try it just once. For the story.


-Eldorado residents were none too pleased with our culture editor's review of the restaurant La Plancha. We enjoyed their ire because it wasn't directed at us for once. In case you haven't read it, here's a link.

-How does one engage with the upcoming Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta if one can't congregate in mass groups? Online, of course. In fact, you'll find all sorts of ways to get down with the longstanding marriage of wine and chile, including chef demos, virtual wine tastings, webinars and more. It's coming soon (Sept. 23-25) and you should visit the website if you like those things.

-This isn't strictly local per se, but word on the street is that Applebee's is offering an end-o'-summer free meal to kids with every to-go or delivery meal purchased online with the promo code FREEKIDS. Now, we're not personally going to do this because we don't have kids. And also Applebee's falls outside out eat-local-as-much-as-we-possibly can plan, but we think it's great news for families eating out on a budget.

-Kind readers informed us that The Fry Factory—purveyors of fine fair food—will bring its truck to the Santa Fe Place Mall this month. This does indeed take out some of the sting of missing fair food. Additionally, Uncle DT's BBQ biz does big ol' turkey legs. Phew!

-Do you know about The Food Depot's Neighbor to Neighbor Fund Drive? It's basically a great way for neighborhoods to come together and donate to the largest food bank in the area, without which countless Santa Feans would have surely been in big trouble during the pandemic. Last year, the drive raised more than 365,000 pounds of food!

-Good news for people who like calamari as Pranzo Italian Grill announced via Facebook photo it's back—in Pog form! Jay-kay, the dormant restaurant is actually taking over the old Shohko Café spot at 321 Johnson Str. Here's photographic proof:

-Lastly in local news items, India Palace—the restaurant that was viciously attacked and vandalized in June—reopens this week. Meanwhile, the city cops asked the FBI to help with the case. The restaurant was great before, it's great now, probably…maybe y'all should spend some bucks there?

More Tidbits

-Eater.com's Jenny G. Zhang has written about how eating kettle chips is the worst thing since chewing Bazooka Joe bubblegum. Zhang's not wrong. See, it hurts (in both cases) and tastes not great (in both cases) and people always wanna tell you you're no fun if you don't like it (in both cases).

-Ummmm…sweet potato tacos? Yes. Very much yes. TikTok influencer Tabitha Brown shares her recipe for the savory and probably slightly sweet but in the best way ever tacos with delish.com. Side note, when people tell us food is "delish," we're usually like. "Ugh."

-Meanwhile, Bon Appétit is really sticking to its commitment to diversity by featuring a Black-owned nursery in Oakland, California. We're glad the website really meant what it said when it said it was gonna change.

-Since 2020 is a nonstop parade of hopeless nonsense wherein each news item feels worse to read than the last, Mountain Dew has teamed up with Red Lobster to release—get this—a Mountain Dew cocktail. Why? Because God is dead. Apparently the cocktail goes well with the seafood chain's famed Cheddar Bay Biscuits (there's no such thing as Cheddar Bay) and with the gnawing feeling of self-doubt that comes from wanting Mountain Dew that badly.

-Also in news of things no one asked for and should still not want, Cinnabon announced a new line of frozen buns and chicken sandwiches coming to a grocery store near you. Will you hate yourself? Probably. Will it be delicious? Oh, no question.


In the print edition of SFR, new contributor Annabella Farmer tells us how a plot at the Santa Fe Botanical Garden is helping to feed the needy alongside nonprofit Kitchen Angels.

A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork's Correspondence 

Number of Letters Received
 *We all really like fair food, we guess.

Most Helpful Tip of the Week (a barely edited letter from a reader)
“This is pathetic.”
 *Oh, word?

Actually Helpful Tip
Numerous readers reached out to offer advice about handling Epstein-Barr, something from which The Fork's mother suffers. This is kind and we appreciate you all for it.
 *And mom says "Hi!"

Catcha later, alligator pear,
The Fork