At the turn of the last century, the tree to which every Hass avocado in the world can trace its lineage, The Hass Mother Tree, succumbed to root rot at the ripe old age of 76. At the time of her death her progeny accounted for 95% of the avocados grown in California and 80% grown worldwide.
The Hass Mother Tree was planted in the late 1920’s by A.R. Rideout, an avid avocado enthusiast living in Whittier, California. A postman by trade, Rideout bought an avocado seedling to cultivate in order to sell the fruit. His plan was to graft other varieties onto the tree, but his persistent attempts failed. Just as Hass was about to cut down the fledgling tree his children, who had grown to love the rich texture and nutty taste of the little tree’s fruit talked him into selling these novel avocados as an alternative to the smooth green Fuerte, which was the popular avocado variety of the day.
So Hass named the avocado variety after himself, took out a patent, and signed an agreement with a local nursery to grow and promote Hass-branded avocados. Success was immediate. Not only did most people find the Hass variety superior to the Fuerte, the variety also bore more fruit and matured at a different time of year, giving it a distinct competitive advantage in the marketplace.