What Are Long-Neck Avocados And Why Are They So Expensive?!

As far as fruits go, the avocado is one of the more peculiar ones. Surprisingly, it is classified as a berry, and its curvy, oblong shape and bumpy green peel have earned it the quirky nickname of "alligator pear." Then there's the long-neck avocado, also known as "Persea americana Russell." The supersized fruit is a unique cousin of the kind you usually find at your local supermarket. Typically weighing in at more than a pound each and stretching over 13 inches in length, these enormous avocados are named for their "long necks" — the part of the fruit that extends more than half a foot beyond the area surrounding the pit, giving them the appearance of an average avocado stretched out like taffy.

Some online purveyors offer these avocados for around $97 for three to five pounds, highlighting that they are far from average; their price tag reflects their rarity. This high cost arises from the limited quantity of these jumbo-sized fruits produced each year. This variety — which is not genetically modified — is not commercially cultivated on large farms; instead, it's grown by small producers in the Caribbean Islands and parts of South Florida, from the Keys to Miami. Additionally, the harvest season is relatively short, typically spanning from July to September, depending on the weather.

Getting your hands on long-neck avocados

You can only buy long-neck avocados during the late summer harvest season, and it's unlikely you'll find them at a grocery store. A limited number of these fresh fruits grow each year, so those eager to try them are best off placing a pre-order online with purveyors of exotic fruits like Miami Fruit. Vendors will start shipping long-neck avocados to those who have placed pre-orders first, and later orders will be fulfilled on a first-come, first-served basis. If you opt to wait until the fruit is in season, your order may take up to three weeks to ship, depending on harvesting conditions.

Although it's not possible to receive a shipment of these avocados in California due to USDA regulations, they are available for delivery in most of the U.S. and Canada. If you're feeling generous or need a special gift, you can consider sending a box to a loved one; or, if you live in a climate that supports their growth and have a green thumb, you can try to grow some long-neck avocados yourself. Just remember it could take anywhere from five to 13 years for your avocado tree to start bearing fruit.

Long-neck vs. other avocado varieties

More than 500 different avocado varieties exist, including some that sport striking red skin when ripe and others with an edible peel. However, only two common varieties of long-neck avocados exist: the "Russell," which hails from the Florida Keys, and the "Pura Vida," native to Nicaragua.

If you're accustomed to the Hass avocados commonly found in supermarkets, you'll find that it's not just the appearance of long-neck avocados that sets them apart — although they do boast an extra-glossy green exterior. Slice into the thin, shiny, smooth skin of a long-neck avocado, and you'll discover an abundant, creamy interior. While similar to a typical Hass avocado, this variety has a saltier, more savory flavor profile and higher moisture content. To fully enjoy the buttery, rich texture of this avocado, store it at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher until it softens. Like most avocados, they ripen quickly, so have a plan for how to use them once they're ready to eat.

How to cook with long-neck avocados

Whether you get your hands on just one long-neck avocado or decide to go all-in and purchase a big box, be prepared to put a lot of avocado to good use! It's worth noting that Hass avocados typically weigh just under eight ounces, while long-neck avocados can tip the scales at 24-40 ounces. You'll be dealing with significantly more smooth, green goodness than you're likely accustomed to. Stock up on your favorite chips and bread before your long-neck avocados arrive — you'll be eating guacamole and avocado toast for days.

If you want to share your bounty, plan a party and invite some friends over around the time of your avocado delivery. Then, whip up some creative avocado recipes. Take advantage of the freshest produce at your local supermarket and toss together a large salad featuring chunks of avocado, cherry tomatoes, and corn. If you have a barbecue at your disposal, you can peel, halve, and grill the jumbo avocados, serving them simply with a squeeze of lime. You could even make an avocado key lime pie — or several! The possibilities are endless.