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The Carlsbad avocado has a tapered ovate shape with smooth, medium-thick skin that turns a black-purple color when ripe. The fruits average between ten and 15oz in size, and their flesh hosts a medium-size seed, and offers good oil content and a tasty, nutty avocado flavor. Most avocado trees can grow between 6 and 12 meters tall, though some cultivars can reach heights up to 24 meters. Pruning on a regular basis can keep avocado trees to a manageable size. The fruit matures but does not ripen on the tree, so farmers can essentially store the fruit on the tree and control the yield of their harvest. The Carlsbad avocado is known to be a prolific and regular bearer.
Carlsbad avocados are available early spring through early summer.
Avocados are botanically classified as a berry and scientifically known as Persea americana Mill. They belong to the Lauraceae, or laurel, family, along with the plants that produce edible cinnamon, camphor, sassafras, and the herb laurel, also known as bay leaf. The three main types of avocados are Mexican, West Indian, and Guatemalan, and included in these major categories are hundreds of varieties with different shapes, colors, and skin textures. The Carlsbad avocado is a Guatemalan type, and is further classified as Type A, based on the life cycle of its individual flowers. The Carlsbad avocado is also described by The University of California’s South Coast Research & Extension Center as a “heritage” variety with historic significance.
Avocados have a reputation as being high in fat, but the oil in avocados is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which is relatively healthy and can actually help lower blood cholesterol levels. Avocados provide many essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid. They contain more protein than any other fruit, and are very low in cholesterol and sodium. Avocados are also known as a nutrient booster because they enable the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients.
Carlsbad avocados have a great texture and flavor for eating raw on their own, or with a touch of lemon juice and sea salt, or your favorite seasoning. You can spread avocado on toast as a cholesterol-free alternative to butter, or slice and add to any salad or sandwich, from BLTs to burgers and wraps. Avocado can of course be mashed with tomatoes, garlic and chilies to make a classic guacamole, and can even be used in some desserts, such as ice creams. The tannins in avocados result in a bitter flavor when the fruit is cooked over high heat, such as broiling, so it is advisable to avoid exposure to direct heat and cook only briefly, or add avocados at the end of cooking. To speed up the ripening of an avocado, place it in a paper bag at room temperature with an apple or banana. Only fully ripe avocados should be refrigerated, as they will not continue to ripen when stored in the refrigerator.
The Carlsbad avocado is said to be one of the Guatelmalan varieties imported to Chile from California in the 1930s. In Chile, avocados are colloquially referred to as “paltas”, and varieties from California were called "Palta Californiana". The favorite varieties in Chile are arguably Fuerte and Hass, however they also grow remarkable amounts of lesser-known cultivars, including Carlsbad, ryan, and mexicola avocados.
The Carlsbad avocado tree is believed to have been introduced from Mexico in 1912 by A.R. Rideout & W.D. Stephens, and it reportedly first fruited in the city of Carlsbad CA, hence its given name. Carlsbad, CA has since become closely associated with avocado growing, and has earned its slogan, given by residents, as the "Home of the Avocado." The Carlsbad avocado is a tender cultivar and is subject to damage below 30 degrees F, and can also be sensitive to excessive water in the soil.