Are you an Avocadophile? Do you love California avocados? From July 1st to 7th, Downtown Disney District is celebrating California Avocado Week with the California Avocado Commission. I was completely thrilled to be invited to the Media Dinner at Catal Restaurant with a group of bloggers from all over Southern California. Although we have avocados with almost every meal at the ranch, I had never tasted dishes like these special culinary creations at Catal Restaurant.
The California Avocado Commission was organized in 1978, in the early days of planting our ranch. When I married The Farmer in 1982, I began attending the annual meetings for growers. The California Avocado Commission is the marketing organization and trade association for California avocado growers. Over the past 30 years , I have seen the tremendous work that the commission staff has done in educating the public, and promoting avocados as delicious and healthy fruit. It has been exciting to watch the demand for California avocados grow! As a Vermont native, I used to visit my home state and spend most of my time explaining avocados to friends and relatives who had never seen one or eaten one. Now, everyone knows about them…and I spend just as much time listening to my friends and relatives tell me how much they love them and their favorite ways to enjoy them! California avocado growers are justifiably proud of the California Avocado Commission, whose exemplary work has become the envy of the produce industry.
Avocado growers have come to rely on the California Avocado Commission for much more than marketing and promotion of avocados. The Commission also provides on-going education for growers in areas such as agricultural practices, pest management, water, tree diseases, and food safety. They do production research, collect and report avocado industry data, and interface with our elected officials to help guide decisions affecting the industry. The Commission even maintains an online library of avocado knowledge!
If you have any questions about avocados or growing avocados, you will probably find the answer somewhere on their site.
As growers we have seen photos and heard reports about the events that the Commission puts on for the various groups who can help spread the word about California avocados…so it was especially exciting to actually be invited to participate…as a blogger…and as a grower! Most of us slice our avocados on sandwiches, burgers and soups, mash them into dip, add chunks to our salads, and eat them with a spoon right out of the skin.
I can safely say that most avocado growers probably do not make avocado sorbet, have not tried to smoke an avocado, and have never created an avocado mint puree! Not to mention the perfect wine pairings with each course that we all enjoyed!
Vice President of Marketing, Jan DeLyser, provided information about the avocado industry and grower Doug O’Hara answered questions about growing avocados. Here in southern California it’s not unusual for folks to have an avocado tree or two in their back yards. Avocados can be tricky to grow, and there are always questions about the best way to care for avocado trees. (Hint: give them plenty of water!)
Throughout the evening, Chef Mary answered questions and offered information about the ingredients and flavors we were experiencing. Although most of us were familiar with avocados, there was at least one person who had never tasted an avocado before! I was wishing that we could offer her a perfect ripe California avocado on the half shell with a little seasoning and a spoon!
Thank you to the California Avocado Commission for inviting me to this event. It was an honor to be included as a blogger, and to have the chance to experience this exceptional dinner showcasing the fruit that our family takes such pride in growing…California avocados.
And now (drumroll…….): The Dessert! Trust me, it was avocado-licious!