Hass avocado trees. (Gutierrez Israel)

The man you can thank for avocado toast

Every Hass avocado in the world traces to a single tree planted by a Los Angeles-area mail carrier in 1926.

Rudolph Hass had purchased some seedlings of unknown origin and planned to use them as rootstock on which to graft another avocado variety. But one of them didn’t take. A few years later, according to one version of the story, Haas was about to cut the tree down when his kids told him that the fruit it bore was delicious — creamy, with a nutty taste.

Rudolph Hass and his wife, Elizabeth, next to the Hass Mother Tree. (California Avocado Commission)

It also produced high yields and tough skins well-suited for shipping. Hass took out a patent on what he called “a new and improved variety of avocado” and partnered with a grower to promote it.

Today, the offspring of the so-called Hass Mother Tree account for 95 percent of the avocados grown in California. But Hass never got rich, as the patent did nothing to stop growers from using cuttings to create whole orchards. His haul? About $4,800.

L.A. Times | California Avocado Commission

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