95% of all avocados consumed in the U.S., as well as a majority of avocados consumed globally, can be traced back to his tree
MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- The internet has gone crazy for avocados.
We have all heard the joke millennials love avocado toast. But there's truth to that.
The restaurant On The Bus in Milwaukee serves tons of it.
"Yeah, we definitely sell at least 10 to probably around 50 sandwiches that include avocado," said Emily Schicker, manager at On The Bus.
But if it weren't for a Wisconsin man, the avocados we know today never would have existed.
Rudolph Hass is said to be the Godfather of the most popular avocado in the world, WTMJ reported.
He was born in Milwaukee and moved to southern California when he was 27.
In 1925, he planted the tree that would change avocados forever.
Now, 95% of all avocados consumed in the U.S., as well as a majority of avocados consumed globally, can be traced back to his tree.
"It's the number one variety commercially worldwide," said Dr. Mary Lu Arpaia.
She has been studying avocados since 1983 at the University of California Riverside.
The variety she is talking about is the Hass avocado. Maybe you've seen it in grocery stores.
"They just let the tree grow, and in about 1930 or so, the tree started bearing fruit and it was like, wow, this ones not too bad," Dr. Lu Arpaia said.
It turns out the Hass avocado was creamier and richer than the leading variety.
Once people found out, everyone wanted a taste.
Rudolph got a fruit patent in 1935. He struck a deal with a local nursery to split the profit as long as they grew and sold the tree.
According to the California Avocado Society, they sold more than 16,000 Hass avocado trees in 10 years.
"People knew it was a very high eating quality fruit. In fact, from a post-harvest perspective, it probably sets the gold standard," Dr. Lu Arpaia said.
Countries like Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru almost exclusively grow Hass. They can even be found in China and across Africa.
So the next time you have avocado toast or guacamole, you can thank a mailman from Milwaukee for that rich creamy taste.