The avocado (Persea Americana) originated in south-central Mexico, sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 B.C. But it was several millennia before this wild variety was cultivated. Archaeologists in Peru have found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 B.C. and there is evidence that avocados were cultivated in Mexico as early as 500 B.C.
Spanish conquistadores loved the fruit but couldn't pronounce it and changed the Aztec word to a more manageable aguacate, which eventually became avocado in English. The first English-language mention of avocado was by Sir Henry Sloane in 1696.
Fast forward to 1871, when Judge R.B. Ord of Santa Barbara successfully introduced avocados to the U.S. with trees from Mexico. By the early 1900s, growers were seeing the avocado's commercial potential.
Today, California is the number-one producer of avocados and home to 95% of the nation's crop. Most California avocados are harvested on 60,000 acres between San Luis Obispo and the Mexican border, by about 6,000 growers. San Diego County, which produces 40% of all California avocados, is the acknowledged avocado capital of the nation.
California avocados are grown year-round. A single California avocado tree can produce up to 60 pounds of fresh fruit each year, approximately 120 pieces.