Friday, February 10, 2012

All About Pinkertons

The Pinkerton Farm's mail box - of course its green!

The Pinkerton avocado kind of makes my heart warm. It was hybridized by a local Ventura County family (the Pinkerton family -- duh).  Back in the "day" everyone was trying to "create" a fruit that would be the "it" fruit. Tasty, grew all year around, had a good flavor, great flesh, would sell nice, etc. Many, many farmers and ranchers tried. That's one of the reasons we have so many varieties.
3 classic Pinkertons - YUM!

The Pinkerton is not a commercially successful avocado for several reasons:
  • It's too long and pear shaped (doesn't work so well for the packing houses machinery to wash, store, ship it). 
  • The poor fruit ripens from top to bottom (as it has a long, skinny neck and a fat bottom... the Diva can kind of relate...)
  • Because of its elongated neck -- if you cut it like a typical Hass -- (from top to bottom) - you often get a stringy mess of over ripe avocado (at the top) and a not quite rip portion (at the fat bottom).  But there IS a solution -- read on...
The Pinkerton IS a good avocado for eating for these reasons:
Peel it to get ALL the nutrients!
  • It is very yummy - full of rich oils and a strong, earthy, very "avocado-y" taste. 
  • It has a pretty tough skin, so it doesn't rip easily.
  • Its a winter fruit - ripens in Jan - March 
  • The skin peels easily - so you can get to the nutrient right, very "green" flesh. 
  • It has a fairly small pit - so lots of flesh for the money
  • It turns black as it ripens - so you know its ready (in fact, it turns quite ugly! but tastes good)
So to overcome the "not commercially viable" parts of the Pinkerton -- 
the Diva suggests you eat it this way: 

 Cut it AROUND - not top to bottom. Simple!

Cut the top off when it is soft and ripe. You may have to throw away the first one or two slices. You can see they are brown and the "strings" are quite easy to identify. The next 3 or 4 slices are pretty, soft and delicious! The fat bottom is NOT ready (still hard) and needs another day or two to ripen.

 You can save the bottom half like this: rub the exposed part with a lemon (or any acid - lime, orange, grapefruit, even vinegar will work!) and then wrap it tightly. I often use plastic wrap (right against the flesh - very tight) and pull it over and tighten it with a twisty tie. It will stay nice until it ripens on the counter for another day or two.

So if you are lucky enough to GET a Pinkerton -- just treat it RIGHT and know how to eat it -- and you'll add a brand new, delicious variety to your avocado list. Knowledge is power!

(Check out Avocado Diva Recipes for more ideas on how to cook with the Pinkerton!)


  1. we love avocado!!! California avocado! :))

  2. One note: this Pinkerton ripened - but grew a bit of mold on it (it sat on my counter top all weekend -- it was a busy weekend!) So I cut it off and we ate the rest. It was fine.

  3. I have this tree in my backyard. We grew it from the seed of a neighbors. I need advice about trimming and growing from anyone that knows.

    Thank You for your time,

    K. Hoffman

  4. Hi K. Hoffman. Where do you live? That makes a big difference. Also -- is it growing fruit? Thanks.

    1. I live in Redlands (92374), and planted a Pinkerton in January, 2009, if memory serves. When I bought it, it had a few pieces of fruit on it, which promptly fell off, presumably from shock. Since then it has been barren, until this year. I now have 7 avocados on it. The tree is approximately 12 feet tall now, and was so bushy along the ground that I had to trim it up. I have heard that my Pinkerton would be more productive if I had another complementary tree; a Fuerte was suggested. I planted a small Fuerte in the yard near the Pinkerton. Should I expect fruit production to be so low & slow? Does it take years for the tree to become established and produce a good harvest? Any tips on trimming and managing these two varieties? Thanks for your blog...very interesting. Paul

    2. You should be able to grow about any kind of avocado in Redlands. Avocado trees do take years and years to become established. It would be somewhat normal for the tree to drop its fruit after being planted (from shock as you guessed).

      Here is a link about avocado pollination:

      As you can see -- its literally a science! However, all avocados seem to do better with another pollinator. Basically if you have an "A" tree -- you need a "B" pollinator (as you said, a Fuerte would work! or a Bacon).

      Good luck!

      Also -- remember that avocados are "alternate bearing" -- so they produce heavy one year, then less the next.

      PSS -- Pinkertons are a spring fruit -- so the fruit is ready to eat in spring (as are Fuertes). Thus I would grow a Bacon so you can have winter fruit.

  5. Thanks for the info, I work at the Home depot
    near fallbrook and order all the live goods,
    now I know why I should order a few Pinkertons,
    and not just Haas! The Mexicola's don't sell
    well, can you give me info on those? And do
    you know of a good tasting dwarf? Thanks, Homedepotman.

    1. Home Depot Man!! Love your post. In Fallbrook your customers should be able to grow ALL the kinds!! If you ever want me to come down and do a workshop on the fruit -- and help sell a ton of trees - let me know!! We could do a taste test too.

      I would order the following -- and suggest that your customers plant all 4 - for year round fruit!!

      IF you can get Nabal or Queen -- for sure carry those!! THE BEST FRUIT EVER!!

      Winter - Bacon, Spring - Fuerte, Summer - Hass, Fall - Reed

      I love to plant Mexicola (not Grande, just Mexicola) - because it has edible skin AND you can use the leaves for tea or as a spice (like a bay leaf).

  6. I don't know much about dwarf varieties. I hear "little cados" are good.