Of all the fruits found in Latin America, and probably the world, there is one that is the most common. You might think it is something like bananas or oranges, but no, it is the ever-elegant avocado. Though in English it has a single name, in Spanish it goes by palta, and aguacate. In northern countries it is the latter, while hear in the Andes it is the latter.
Peru is one of the countries that most exports avocados into the global market. It has large expanses of commercial production at the same time there is an indigenous set of trees that produce a wide variety of avocados of many different types for our local markets.
The commercial avocados are mostly grown on the coast, in the inter-Andean valleys and in the upper jungle, in the states of Junin, Lima, San Martin, Huánuco, and Cuzco.
There are two varieties grown for the market, the hass and the fuerte. Each of these has its own qualities and characteristics. The hass is of excellent quality, resistant to the rigors of transport, and has a long shelf life. This is the one that is most exported.
The fuerte avocado is the one most sold within our country. The fuerte can be woody and has a large, brown seed inside.
We harvest our avocados between the months of March and August, though you can find avocados in our market all year round. In Cusco we find avocados produced in the valley of Limatambo, a district of the province of Anta.
This is a very important place. It was one of the tambos, inns, for rest on the ancient and modern highways between the coast and Cusco. It has many important feasts, one of which is the tourist festival of paltas, avocados. There the workers who raise and harvest the avocados become the central focus of the event, although the children and everyone celebrates.
The central plaza of Limatambo has a fountain in the shape of an avocado. It is a monument to this important fruit. In addition, the shape of the avocado is found in many other places, such as on the garbage cans around the main square.
The avocado has a great demand and is used widely in gastronomy. It is required for making salads, decorations, and more. While it is easy to find avocados, the trick is to know which one is good.
Many people touch the avocado to see if it is soft, and they look at its color. They ask where it comes from and look to see if other people are buying them. Vendors in our markets often will cut an avocado open so that people can see the quality of the product they are looking to buy.