Renegade arborists creating "forbidden" fruit in San Francisco

Trees make the urban landscape more pleasant. They shade the sidewalk and provide space for birds to roost. But they don’t usually produce fruit — and that’s something a secretive group of amateur horticulturalists is looking to change.

Story by Amy Crawford - SF Examiner Staff Writer - Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

The story is very interesting to me at the moment because grafting of fruit trees has been my latest subject of interest. I had been after the "West Indian" avocado here in California for some time. I can't say I have ever seen it here, but I know they exist in the east coast of New York City and definitely in the islands of the Caribbean. This particular cultivar is much larger and rounder than any of the Hass varietals we are used to seeing grown here in the west coast of the U.S. It is also much lower in oil content, shinier and has smoother skin compared to the darker wart like skin of the Hass. There are many other cultivars like Fuerte and Zutano, which all have a slightly more pear like appearance as far as shape, some may have yellow specks on their skin like beautiful accents that attract both animal and human in my opinion and they originate from Mexico and Guatemala vs the more tropical climates closer to the equator.

Thanks to my Mother I now have my very own West Indian/Caribbean avocado seed, but there are issues to growing them here in California. These avocados have gotten used to the tropical climate and don't handle salts/fertilizers that well, but fortunately for me there are plenty of other avocado varieties that grow well in our soils and are highly salt tolerant obviously since they are commercially grown. The idea is to use what is called the "hardier" (robust, able to handle more difficult conditions) root stock of a locally grown Hass avocado and "graft", which is a process of literally amputating a limb and attaching the my West Indian variety there instead. Not a simple process, but it should work. I still have to grow it indoors so it will be protected as a seedling until it has aged enough to start producing fruit. Then it will be combined to the Hass root stock. We shall see. Another effort to bring lesser known, but delicious tropical fruits and education to our tables.