Market Watch: The Avocados Return!


In the winter months Will Brokaw of Brokaw Nursery supplies shoppers at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market with subtropical fruits like cherimoya, guava and citrus. However, his stand is most recognized for the avocados grown on his family ranches in Santa Paula and Soledad, and this week they make a welcome return to market after a late-winter seasonal hiatus.

Brokaw Nursery will begin harvesting the familiar Hass variety now, but in March and April Will’s personal favorite variety, Fuertes, will be regularly available at his stand on Tuesdays and Saturdays. And as the season progresses thin skinned varieties such as the Bacon, Zutano and Ettinger will all make appearances. While these types of avocado aren’t as rich or oily as the Hass, Will assured me that both market shoppers and chefs enjoy the opportunity to mix and match his different offerings, enjoying each for their own unique character and attributes.

According to Will, shoppers can expect to see Hass avocados through September, as well as the Reed, which is harvested through late October or early November. He also told me that he anticipates a strong avocado crop for 2012 but that it’s unlikely to extend into late winter as it has over the past few years. His winter standby, the Gwen, “suffered a near complete crop failure
due to extremely cold temperatures,” he said, meaning that the Reeds in fall may be the time for market goers to stock up.

In addition to avocados, we can start to look forward to other late winter/early spring favorites. Asparagus from Zuckerman Farms returns on Saturday, and green garlic from Knoll Farms will be back and in abundance the first week of March.

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