Third Thursday with the Popenoe Family

Improving on Nature: Altadena’s Plant-Exploring Popenoes and the West India Gardens

Held June 15, 2023
Altadena Community Center

Michele Zack–writer, historian, and recent Alan Jutzi Fellow at The Huntington Library presented an illustrated talk on the plant-exploring Popenoe family, who in the early 20th century introduced many subtropical fruits to California. The Fuerte Avocado, sourced in Mexico and first grafted and cultivated in Altadena at Frederick O. Popenoe’s West India Garden, was the industry standard until being eclipsed by the Hass. Zack will touch on the next generation of Popenoes, whose continuing quest to improve on nature led to questionable careers in eugenics and the invention of marriage counseling.