Avocado lovers rejoice. Giant avos weighing up to 1.8 kilograms are now available in Australia.
Avozillas are five times the size of a typical avocado variety, with an average weight of 1.2 kilograms.
And the wow factor goes beyond the size – the variety is considered a very good eating fruit.
The Groves family began harvesting the first crop from their 400 Avozilla trees at their tropical fruit farm in Bungundarra, central Queensland three weeks ago.
The family is the only commercial grower of the variety in Australia.
David Groves said he was thrilled to be part of an industry first, bringing a new variety to the market and seeing people get so excited about it.
“Everybody is pretty amazed to see these giant avocados and they are quite a statement, when you see one it is unforgettable,” Mr Groves said.
“The biggest one we found so far was nearly 1.8 kilograms.”
Mr Groves said the taste was very buttery – that was the first box ticked when the family considered buying into the variety.
“Often big fruit and big vegetables don’t taste as good as the smaller ones but in this case, they really do, they are a very good eating fruit.”
“They aren’t genetically modified, they are just bred like any other fruit or vegetable crop.”
The variety originated in South Africa and was called Post Office before being renamed by the plant breeding rights owner.
Mr Groves said planting Avozilla trees was not a simple process, with the trees under plant breeder rights and requiring the payment of a royalty and the signing of a license agreement.
Wholesaler sells out within 48 hours
Tropical and exotic fruit sales manager at Mercer Mooney in Perth, Cameron Perna, said the majority of giant avocados were sold within 24–48 hours of landing at the distribution centre.
“The only ones we struggle with are the smaller ones but the larger ones are already pre-sold before they even leave Queensland,” Mr Perna said.
“We have two to three buyers that pretty much clean them up before they even land.”
Mr Perna said they were sold at the very firm price of $12 each.
He said an Avozilla could be kept fresh once cut by cling wrapping it tightly on a plate and keeping it in the fridge.
“I cut one open the other day and got nine pieces of smashed avocado on toast out of [a] half.”
“It’s an exciting product because everybody eats avocados and instead of buying two or three a week, you only have to buy one.”
South Fremantle Peaches Fresh Food Market owner Robert Di Tullio said the giant avocados had a wow factor and had given the fruit and vegetable industry a buzz.
“We sold out every time we got our batch in and people have been coming back for them,” Mr Di Tullio said.
“Being a niche line made it more popular and the season is short — that too is a plus because sometimes when something is available too much it tends to slow [sales] down.”
“A short season and short availability will keep it unique and strong.”
Challenges for grower
Mr Groves said although it was an exciting new product, the production per hectare was much lower than other varieties and the Avozillas did not store as well on trees.
“They are starting to fall off soft, so trying to spread them through the markets and take our time is challenging when we start to lose fruit,” he said.
“They do have a nice thick skin which helps us a lot in terms of stings and bites but being so heavy they swing quite easily in the wind and they are getting marked very easily by touching other branches.
“We send them to all the wholesale markets in the capital cities, but are finding that some do better than others because they are such a novelty.”
Groves Tropical Fruit Farm packer Katherina Gill said in comparison to standard size avocados, Avozillas had to be hand packed grate by grate in deeper boxes, with no machinery involved.
“It is a bit more difficult but I do enjoy it, it’s more quiet and you take your time making sure they look really nice in the box,” Ms Gill said.