The season during which avocados are obtainable in southern Florida has been, until very recently, from July until January. A few Trapps may hang on until February or even as late as March, but the fruit is so scarce after the early part of January that it need scarcely be reckoned with. The earliest varieties of the West Indian race begin to ripen in July, while the bulk of the seedling crop matures in August and September. During this season avocados are cheap, and the markets of the North are receiving shipments from Cuba, but there is a certain demand for high-class fruit even during the summer, and such varieties as Pollock are profitably grown in a small way. It has always been recognized, however, that the most profitable avocados are those which can be marketed in winter, for not only is the cheap seedling fruit out of the way at that time, but the markets of the North are not filled to overflowing with peaches, plums, grapes, and other standard fruits.
It is, therefore, the late Trapps which have been the most profitable in Florida, and the constant search has been for even later varieties which would make it possible to supply the markets during late winter and early spring. Such have not been found among those of the West Indian race, but the Guatemalan meets this demand, and varieties of this race will, in all probability, soon be planted extensively in Florida. The Guatemalan kinds which have already fruited at Miami and elsewhere have served to indicate that the season during which this race will ripen is, roughly speaking, November to May.
In California a given variety of the Guatemalan race ripens one to two months later than in Florida, so far as present experience goes. The season of this race in California extends from January or February, when the earliest sorts appear in the market, to autumn. Following the Guatemalans, the Mexican varieties mature, their season in general being October to January, although there are some kinds which mature a few fruits in spring. Thus it can be said that there is never a day when ripe avocados are not obtainable in California.
While the Mexican race has received little attention in Florida, it seems likely to become of considerable value for. the cooler sections of the state, now that varieties of good size and quality are obtainable. Chappelow has been in bearing at Miami for some years, maturing there in June and July, which is considerably earlier than in California.
In Cuba it is said that trees growing on dry soils will hold their fruits longer than those growing on low moist land. Occasional seedling trees (West Indian race) are found throughout Cuba which have the reputation of carrying their fruits until Christmas or even later. Such trees are, of course, highly profitable to their owners, since avocados are in great demand in Habana during the winter months, and the supply at present is limited.