Locally Grown

I know how fortunate I am to live in San Diego.  Not just because of the beautiful blue skies, sunshine, and palm trees…

…or the flowers that grow year-round here…

Saw this rose on a run the other day and went back with my camera.

…but it’s a blessing that fruits and vegetables of all kinds, including avocados, are grown locally here.


Including the four, locally grown avocados that I received from California Avocados Direct.

The California Avocados Direct farm is a family-owned and operated farm of the Holtz family.  It has been in operation for decades, spanning three generations, and it’s located about a half hour north of where I live.

The farm in 1973

The farm in 2010

Photo Source

Do you know what’s amazing about these avocados?   And I’m not just talking about their taste…

…but these avocados were only touched by Ben Holtz and no one else!

Here is a photo of him hand-picking my avocados from the orchard last week with this caption: “Today is a rather mild cool day on the ranch.  I am hoping for more warmer weather so the bee’s are excited to get out and pollinate the avocado blossoms.”

Does that just blow your mind that I can literally see where my food came from just up the road from me?  It does mine, in a wonderful way!

In this era of food flown in from California (if you don’t live here), Mexico, South America, or all over the world, and touched by dozens or hundreds of people in the food supply chain from field to grocery store, the fact that no one else touched these avocados besides Ben, and Mother Nature, until I opened the box, is amazing to me.

It makes me want to do more to support local agriculture and local farmers and because I do live in San Diego, I can do that with great ease.

For example, here are some pictures I took last summer from the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market.  Every Sunday, year round, this amazing market is open offering locally grown and organic or pesticide-free food.

Lots more photos here of the local produce bounty in my area.

But back to my avocados.   What should I make with my avocados?

They are still ripening so I have time to decide.

I could make guacamole.  Or my “Cheater’s” Guacamole with them.

But these avocados seem too special to “cheat” with and I may need to make more traditional guac with these gems.

They would probably make wonderful Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse

No one ever suspects that avocados are the staple ingredient in the mousseNo one.

I bring it to parties and fool everyone who thinks the mousse is full of eggs and butter or that it took a long time to make.  Wrong!  Four ingredients, five minutes, vegan.


Avocados are a source of healthy fats and do a body good.

If you’re interested in buying avocados and supporting the Holtz family farm and California Avocados Direct, please see their website and they can ship them to you.

Also, Matt Armendariz, photographer extraordinaire, with whom I did the food styling and photography workshop, also posted about a recent trip that he took to the California Avocados Direct farm.

And my friend Gaby of What’s Gaby Cooking, was with Matt on that trip to the farm and she also posted about it.  They both have great pictures of their day at the farm in their posts.

From my last post about Whirling Around, yes, it was a manic day, indeed.


1. Do you support local agriculture in any way?  Having a CSA share (community supported agriculture), shopping at your local farmer’s market, buying from local fruit or vegetable stands, or even growing your own produce?

If you’re interesting in CSA’s or joining one in your area, here’s a great link.

As I said, I do what I can do buy locally.  However, we all must do what we can given the constraints of our budgets.  For example, there are times when TJ’s sells blueberries at half the cost of what blueberries at the farmer’s market are, but that reinforces that sometimes it is more expensive to buy locally grown, pesticide-free food that isn’t flown in from 5000 miles away where the standards are much different on everything from paying the laborers living wages to crop spraying practices.

Also, I realize it’s not easy to eat local if you live in North Dakota in the winter.  It’s a good thought, but again, you have to do what you can and what works for you given your geographical area, needs, budget, and so forth.

I am not much of a gardener, and have tried container gardening, but so far, I have been bitten by the gardening bug.  The photography bug is more like it.

2. Do you like avocados?

Yes!  Silly question!

3. What’s your favorite way to use avocados or fave recipes?

I admit, other than guac, chocolate mousse, massaging them into greens as a salad dressing, or making other basic sauces/dressings with them, I just like to slice them and eat them plain on salads.  Simplicity is best for me.

Any great avo recipes or creative uses?

75 comments on “Locally Grown”

  1. LOVE avocados, I’ve been incorporating them into my lunches lately on sandwiches and in wraps!

  2. Oooo those look heavenly. I actually worked on an organic farm near home last summer and it was the best job ever. Hard, hard, work but SO rewarding. To have a job THAT in line with my values was almost too good to be true.

  3. I love supporting local, I get a csa bag from a farm year round but cant wait to do some shopping at the farmers market when it opens again there is something so amazing about connecting with the growers of your food!

  4. When our farmers’ markets are in season, I really do try to buy local. I also like to try to grow my own veggies too. I think it’s important to take advantage of the local farms and what they have to offer. As for avocados, I think you probably remember my feelings towards them ;-)

  5. I love avocados and I love your mousse recipe, so I’d make that for sure.

    On Saturday (forgot to post the pic on my blog) I had an Avocado Margarita — blended avocado + marg mix + tequila. It was delicious. Maybe you should try making that! :)

    The people in MN that I know who have tried CSAs here hated them. You and I know that MN has good tomatoes, potatoes and corn — not too much variety here!

  6. LOOOVE avocados! I like making guacamole with spicy jalapeños.

  7. Aw, I love that the avocados have like a story with them.

  8. thanks for sharing that avacado story! love stories about independent owners/farmers/entrepreneurs doing well. and i love avacados – eat minimum one per day.
    i live in a real hotbed mecca for supporting local produce farmers – although no avacados are grown locally! but i do love going to the farmer’s market and buying direct from the grower. plus, prices are so good!
    love to see that san diego sunshine!

  9. If by locally grown you mean the few things I grow in my backyard, then yes. We just don’t have many farmer’s markets nearby, and the ones that are come at times when it’s impossible to do it solo with two young kids in tow. Wish I could buy more.

    Also, I’m never eating chocolate mousse again after that. I’m just not a fan of avocados or their texture.

  10. I still don’t get why avocados cost that much when it’s actually easy to be grown here. I love avocados and can eat them just plain or I make my own guac version (mash and squirt with fresh lemon juice). The cheapest avocado I’ve got so far is 50 cents each…haven’t seen any other places could beat that price :D

  11. No local agriculture here… there isn’t much of a growing season and it’s winter from Sept/Oct-May/June. So… no fresh avocados for me :(

  12. Yum! Just awesome. Sounds like such a cool farm. I try to go to our local farmers market whenever I can and we also planted a garden this year!! Favorite use for avocado? I like it on top of a salad- so yummy :)

  13. I love avocados! I usually just mush ’em up in a bowl, season with a squirt of lemon juice and salt and spread on toast!

  14. My sister keeps bragging about how good the avocados are there in SD. Jealous!

  15. These look so delicious I say just eat them on their own! Maybe with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt!

  16. Oh my — I’m so jealous of all the california goodies! Here in maine andrew and I are growing an avocado tree — it’s crazy that it takes 15 years for it to develop fruit! We doubt we’ll get any “local” avocados anytime soon, but joke that one day we’ll make all local maine guacamole and sell it for $100 a jar!

  17. I love avocados and I love local San Diego farmers markets. It’s that time of year for the farmers markets and I am so excited. I just went on Sunday to the one downtown, I love talking to the growers and finding out what is to come and all the safe products they use on my produce. I am now a subscriber to your blog, I am excited to see what’s to come. Gotta support my local San Diego girls!

  18. Oh that’s so cool! I wish I was home enough to take advantage of a CSA! I’ve started dragging Colin to farmers markets though!

  19. That is awesome. I looove avocados. I think it’s awesome that they grow where you live. I shop locally a lot. I bought a ton(almost literally, haha) of local wheat, I buy eggs and meat that are 100% local. And in the spring/summer/fall I shop at the farmers market. Even if it is a little more expensive, it’s much fresher, much closer to organic that conventional produce at the grocery store and it’s from people I know. To me, it’s not just about getting good food it’s about building relationships with people in town. Obviously, I don’t go nuts and I only get what I can afford, and some people price they’re produce totally crazy, but it’s definitely something special to me. We also have our own garden that it actually pretty big. Can’t wait to get planting in about a month :D Actually I have an avocado tree in my house that I started a couple years ago. I’m sure I’ll never get anything from it, but I just like how it looks :D

  20. how amazing to live in California – i’ve always wanted to live some place that can grow delicious healthy fruits and veggies all year round, you are truly blessed!

  21. I just can’t eat them. I’ve tried and I just don’t like them. I do support local farmers and since we have been eating seasonally this year, it really has helped us learn more about the local/seasonal produce.

  22. I LOVE avocados! You’re so lucky!

  23. “Today is a rather mild cool day on the ranch. I am hoping for more warmer weather so the bee’s are excited to get out and pollinate the avocado blossoms.” – This brings a smile to my face ! I always try to support local farmers whenever possible.

  24. Those are some beautiful avocados! I once was able to visit an organic avocado farm and it was such an awesome experience. I got to see how the avocados grow from seedling to tree – and they were yummy!

    I try and support local agriculture by going to farmers markets. I also worked at an olive oil shop that sold 85% local products.

    I like to use avocado on toast or make an avocado milkshake.

  25. I love avocados so much! My mom grew up in CA and had avocado trees in her back yard…she used to just climb on up and pick them! My very favorite way to eat avocado is just by itself.. maybe with a touch of salt and lime juice. so so so good!

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