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Move over Hass — there's a new, more sustainable avocado in town

By Lauren Gilger, Richard Copeland
Published: Tuesday, August 29, 2023 - 11:07am

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Hass avocados in the top row compared to Luna avocados in the bottom row.
Mary Lu Arpaia
Hass avocados in the top row compared to Luna avocados in the bottom row.

The much-loved Hass avocado has been the industry standard for decades. In the last 10 years, its popularity has shot through the roof. In 1995, Americans consumed around 360 million pounds of avocado. By 2021, that number shot up to over three billion pounds.

But, avocado cultivation requires a lot of water, and improper planting can accelerate soil erosion.

That’s why researchers at the University of California Riverside are bringing a new strain of the fleshy green fruit to market. It’s called the Luna Avocado.

This variety has been bred both for the consumer and for the environment. The trees have been genetically designed to be more efficient, and the fruit is more resistant to extreme climates.

Mary Lu Arpaia is a horticultural specialist with UC Riverside’s cooperative extension and she’s one of the inventors of this new Luna variety of avocado. Her name is on the pending patent, and The Show spoke with her more about it.

And how does it taste? “The Luna, I would say it’s not quite as nutty as a Hass,” Arpaia said. “But it has, to me, almost a floral characteristic to its flavor. It sometimes can be a little bit sweet. And instead of being super creamy — it is creamy — I would say that its texture is more smooth. So it’s an avocado, it tastes like an avocado, but it’s a slightly different eating experience than Hass.”

Mary Lu Arpaia
University of California Riverside
Mary Lu Arpaia

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