“. . .the avocado became definitely established [in California] through the introduction of three trees from Mexico in 1871 by Judge R. B. Ord of Santa Barbara. Two of the three trees of his importation bore fruit for many years in Santa Barbara and served to create interest in further plantings.”
—Robert W. Hodgson, “The California Avocado Industry” (1930)
According to the California Avocado Commission, Judge R. B. Ord is credited with not just establishing avocados in Santa Barbara for the first time, but his trees represent the first successful introduction of the bumpy skinned fruit, sometimes called an “alligator pear,” to the United States in general.
It can be said that the roots of the California avocado industry, which today produces about 90 percent of the nation’s half-billion dollar domestic crop, were sunk in Santa Barbara and that the blossoming of the nation’s love of the fruit began with three trees planted in the sunny seaside town known as the American Riviera.