The California Avocado is From La Antigua Guatemala

The California Avocado is From La Antigua Guatemala

It is official: The California avocado is from La Antigua Guatemala. I had mentioned a couple of times that antigüeños are known as Panzas Verdes (green bellies) because of all the avocados they eat (see trivia 2) and that one Wilson Popenoe took the antigüeño avocado to California (see trivia 3). Thanks to an email from Guy from Inner Diablog, a Guatemalan blog published from the U.K., who alerted me about an avocado monument around El Calvario Church on the Walter Williams road to San Juan del Obispo. Well, I drove several times around the area and I did not find such monument, but I did find the Walter William Road monument just outside El Calvario Church. So back to hunting for the avocado monument I asked my good friend and ever-flowing source of antigüeño trivia, JM Magaña, about the location of the avocado monument and he told me it was right there in Central Park, right across the La Antigua Guatemala Cathedral. Boy oh boy, Parque Central is full plain-view secrets. Okay, so this is the short version of how I found out that the California Avocado is really from La Antigua Guatemala. Below you can see the plaque planted right in Central Park and its location relative the Antigua Guatemala Cathedral.

The California Avocado is From La Antigua Guatemala 2

I guess not all the gossip around Antigua is untrue. Another piece of hearsay is that the novel El Papa Verde (The Green Pope) by Miguel Ángel Asturias, 1967 Nobel Prize in Literature, based its main character in Frederick Wilson Popenoe, who worked for the United Fruit Company and lived at Casa Popenoe. The Green Pope is part of Miguel Ángel Asturias The Banana Trilogy, three books (novels) about what the horrible things the United Fruit Company did in Central America. From avocados to bananas, history repeats itself. Read on Citizens for Boycotting Chiquita at Immigration Orange to learn what the UFCO, now known as Chiquita Brands International, Inc. is doing at present in Colombia. Please, don’t eat Chiquita Bananas!

© 2007 – 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • sompopo

    What a coincidence. The wife and I had guacamole salad and dip with our dinner last night at Sangria’s. Yum………

  • ale

    No idea about the avocado plaque, and I go by El Calvario every time I’m in Antigua…Thanks for the trivia!

  • I had mentioned to Guy at one point that I had read that, or heard the rumor…seeing this, it turns out I had read this very plaque a few years ago!
    Thanks for tracking it down.

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  • Lico43

    Addin to situation of Avocado Plaque, it use to be at Parque de la Union initially, I do not know when it was moved…and another thing we are not Panza Verdes, we are “de vientre esmeraldado” Emerald Tummy….

  • Guest

    The avocado was in California way before the 40’s.  Actually, my mother, who is in her 80’s, would tell us stories about how the avocado was huge staple in my mother’s upbringing in Chicago and Los Angeles.  Apparently my grandfather, who worked on the Wells Fargo Railroad, made sure he had an avocado with him all the time.  My family is Mexican and there were already merchants selling avocados from Mexico as well as the California avocados.  Just some information from long ago talks. 

    • Yes, I am sure, most avocados come originally from Atlixco, Puebla, Antigua Guatemala and Barcenas, Guatemala. Avocados, as most fruits and crops from the “new world” travel very fast and very far as the Spaniards did. However, I was referring to the Hass avocado, which is now known as the California avocado. 

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