The World Is Getting a New Avocado

The Luna aims to challenge the dominant Hass, but probably not for a few years
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2023 7:45 AM CDT
The World Is Getting a New Avocado
Men harvest avocados at an orchard in Santa Ana Zirosto, Michoacan state, Mexico. A new breed of avocado is coming.   (AP Photo/Armando Solis)

Look out, Hass, there's a new contender for the guacamole throne. It's the easier-to-harvest Luna, developed, according to Axios, over the course of 50 years at the University of California-Riverside. The university announced the Luna in a release, though it will probably be at least three years before it shows up on supermarket shelves in the US and abroad, reports SoFi. The UCR release boasts that the Luna has "great flavor, a rind that turns a telltale black when ripe, and high postharvest quality." That's in addition to growing on smaller trees than the Hass requires.

Despite what appear to be clear advantages for this newcomer, however, an analysis at the Produce Blue Book suggests Lunas will indeed have a challenging time usurping the venerable Hass. The big factor will be taste, and consumers will decide that. Richard Smoley writes that the Luna will not "succeed unless it is at least as desirable in flavor and texture as the Hass," adding that "'Hass-like' and 'Hass' are not the same thing." The SoFi summation on that front, from industry insiders: The Luna "tastes pretty similar to the Hass. But the biggest differences are a thicker peel, smoother skin, and a slightly less creamy inside."

As the UCR release details, the new breed of avocado is the product of work that stretches back to the 1950s. An earlier challenger to the Hass, called the Gwen, flopped, and the Luna is seen as an improved offspring of the Gwen. Co-inventor Mary Lu Arpaia tells Axios that it grows on a "tall but very slender, upright tree" that's easily harvested—no ladders needed. The Luna also stores and "ripens very well," says Arpaia, who writes of the risks of relying on a single variety so heavily, as avocado growers have done for decades, in a separate UCR post. (More avocado stories.)

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