News and Facts about Cuba

Selling the Fruit of an Avocado Bush

Selling the Fruit of an Avocado Bush / 14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez

14ymedio, Marcelo Hernandez, Havana, 30 June 2016 — He had tried
everything: He sold the old family dishes, pawned his grandfather’s
possessions and began renting an area in his house for parties. However,
his retirement pension wasn’t enough to support Miguel Angel Garrido,
known as “Gelmo,” a resident of Havana’s Calabazar neighborhood. And so
it was, until one day he realized he had a treasure in his yard: an
enormous clump of avocado that, every season, was covered with hundreds
of the delicious fruit.

Gelmo sold the splendid tree to two pushcart vendors. He didn’t have to
transplant it or move it to another place, but all the avocados will be
placed in the hands of the two vendors of agricultural products. The
transaction generated 200 Cuban convertible pesos for the retiree, along
the phrase, “Old man, when you want you can eat an avocado, because at
the end of the day, the shrub is yours,” offered by one of the buyers
with a certain tone of pity.

The price of this in the informal market ranges between 10 and 15
Cuban pesos each, a day’s pay for a laborer, so everyone wins in this
transaction, especially at this time when the increase in foreign
tourists has unleashed a fury of avocado consumption in hotels, private
restaurants, and homes rented to travelers.

Gelmo’s avocado bush is the most desirable kind, a Catalina. Although it
is “middle aged” it is fully productive. The hardest thing has been to
protect it from the winds of hurricanes, because the trunk is of an
almost glassy wood, which cracks easily in strong gusts. The rest is up
to nature because “it grows like crazy” says the proud owner, who
believes that the best he’s made in his life is “planting
this blessed tree.”

The old man nervously awaited the first rains of the summer. “Until the
water touches it, it does nothing,” he says. The rainfall in early June
helped out, and now in the middle of his yard are the branches bursting
with this fruit which is used in salads and is gaining adherents among
those who cannot eat butter because of the cholesterol, and is also in
demand in beauty salons to make skin masks.

Gelmo guards the fruit hanging from sturdy branches now, to ensure that
it is not plundered by the neighborhood kids, or doesn’t end up falling
to the ground as food for the pigs he also keeps in the yard. Every
single one of these costly fruits that the pushcart vendors manage to
sell will be one more step to selling, again next year, his avocados.

Source: Selling the Fruit of an Avocado Bush / 14ymedio, Marcelo
Hernandez – Translating Cuba –

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