The article by Leslie Berkman (“Avocados: A Tasty Way to Go Broke,” Nov. 26, 1984) deserves comment when it hits so close to home.
The most popular variety is not a “Haas,” but a Hass. The origin of the Hass is not a mystery, as stated in your article. My father, Rudolph Hass, did not find it growing in his backyard in La Habra. In the late 1920s he purchased many Guatemalan seeds from a nursery and nurtured these seedlings on his 1 1/2-acre ranch in La Habra Heights, with the intention of budding or grafting them to existing popular varieties. One seedling, on which the graft did not take hold, started bearing its own unique fruit in the third year and is the only parent Hass tree.
This tree still stands in the 400 block of West Road in La Habra Heights, and is honored with a plaque that was placed by the California Historical Society in 1973.
Your article indicates that the Hass was also originally found in an abandoned San Diego County grove. This cannot be true because no two seedlings will bear identical fruit, unless grafted to a particular variety.
If you mean to imply that the avocados in the accompanying photographs are mature fruit (ready for picking), then I seriously doubt that they are the Hass variety, since they are abnormally small. There is at least one variety so similar in appearance that I thought they were Hasses until I cut them open.
The slide in grower’s prices from 75 cents to 17 cents per pound is not that unusual. I recall us receiving from 7 cents to 35 cents per pound in the late 1940s during the same year.
CHARLES P. HASS Westlake Village
I wish to comment on the good article on avocados (Nov. 26, 1984).
In reference to the Hass avocado, it is spelled H-a-s-s, and is pronounced the same as class. It is so commonly referred to with the double-vowel name that I sometimes wonder if eventually it will be spelled that way by all!
I’ve been told by an old avocado grower that the original Hass tree was a seedling in the Hass family backyard. They gave up grafting the seedling after a couple of attempts and just let it grow. It was one of those rare phenomena that produced a truly excellent avocado.
CLYDE A. PITCHFORD MD Riverside