My great grandparents moved to the East Bay from Kauai (via Puerto Rico) where the family settled on a small piece of property in Hayward. They utilized that small property to its fullest – planting a Pinkerton avocado tree in the backyard along with Meyer lemon, grapefruit, orange, passion fruit, plums, persimmons and apple trees. My grandmother spent most of her life in that house and whenever I stopped by for a visit I would end up carting home bags of gorgeous fruit.
The property has long been sold -but my memory and fascination with my grandmothers green thumb still inspires me. Here in my downtown San Francisco urban garden there are two Gwen avocado trees. When these suckers fall they make a huge thud. Jackson thinks these avocados have fallen from heaven just for him. I’ve used the leaves to make Chichilo Negro (Black Beef Stew) and most recently stuffed them with crab with a recipe out of the cookbook Heart of the Artichoke by David Tanis .