One avocado for a party-size bowl of guacamole
Are you sick of avocados yet? Are you sure? Have you pushed past the point of injury, smearing smashed avo not only on toast, but the walls of your home? If your avocado addiction is so severe that a normal sized stone fruit that can fit in your hand just doesn’t give you the same thrill anymore, fear not.
That’s because the “Avozilla” has landed on Australian shores. No, this isn’t some city-destroying behemoth that feeds on the over-ripened avocados we throw away. It’s simply a giant avocado that weighs in around 1.2 kilograms (about 2.65 pounds) and is about four to five times the size of your standard avocado.
So where do these things come from, if not a patch of the Pacific Ocean contaminated by nuclear radiation? Turns out they can be traced to the Australian state of Queensland, on a family farm to Bungundarra. David Groves says his family farm planted about 400 trees capable of growing the Avozilla varietal (which first appeared in South Africa) about four or five years ago, but that this is the first season in which they’ve borne fruit. Though rare, the variety occurs natural rather than as the result of genetic modification.
While you’d think that these things are grown purely for the shock factor, Groves says the size doesn’t mean sacrificing on taste. In fact, the supposed buttery qualities of the Avozilla strain was a deciding factor when it came time for him to put in an order for the varietal.
“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," Groves told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Australians, naturally are buying into it. Groves says he hardly has time to pluck his avozillas from the trees before wholesalers snatch them up. They’re now appearing in produce sections everywhere across the country from Brisbane to Perth.
Those who’ve split one open seem to appreciate not just the novelty, but the practicality of an incredibly high-yield avocado. “I cut one open the other day and got nine pieces of smashed avocado on toast out of [a] half,” said Cameron Perna, who runs tropical and exotic fruit sales at Perth-based distributor Mercer Mooney. “It's an exciting product because everybody eats avocados and instead of buying two or three a week, you only have to buy one."
Will the avozilla invade American shores sometime soon? Grove says you shouldn’t bet on it. The variety isn’t very practical for avocado farmers, since fewer of them can be produced per hectare compared to your standard avocado. Royalties and licensing agreements add extra red tape compared to your standard crop. And the 4-5 year lag time between planting and harvesting mean the world might have moved on from the avocado craze by the time a tree planted today could yield results.
Still, there are probably more than a few people who dream of having an avocado the size of their head, so maybe there’s more to this whole “avocado the size of your head” thing than Groves expects.