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?


  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!

  26. Awesome–I miss living in CA for just this reason, and HI was even better in that regard: I barely bought food at all.

    Those avos: probably creamy but with good moisture content too, probably slightly less on the sweet side. Perfect for guac or just simple slices with tomato, like a carpaccio. But chocolate mousse is always a great idea too!

    I love that you’re making a connection with the individual farmer.
    I love to support farmers and grow as much of my own food as poss too.

  27. I like to buy as much as I can local, and what I can’t buy local I buy in season, organic and sort of local (like, instead of buying the mangoes from Mexico I’ll buy the lettuce from Washington and the apples from BC, though sometimes I’ll buy the mangoes if they look good and are on sale. I’m not perfect but I do my best). I used to be involved with a CSA type thing but was just for a limited time. I really want to get back into it, though. It’s so much cheaper for me than to buy stuff in the store! Also I absolutely looove going to farmer’s markets.
    I’m not a huge fan of avocados, or at least I wasn’t until now. I had no idea that they were that good for you! I mean, I knew they were a good source of fat but they’re so much better than just that! Thanks, Averie! Also, I feel like banana mango soft serve would be really good. Maybe not. I don’t know. Something about creamy, frozen fats sounds delicious to me.
    I like avocado dressings (like ginger avocado dressing on a kale salad. Omg. Best thing ever) and guac. I’m not really into eating them whole unless they’re in rice paper wraps or something.

  28. The mousse gets my vote for your avocados :] Maybe because it’s the only way I like avos, but I digress ;) Either way – I can totally appreciate good farming, and that is so awesome that they came straight from Ben’s farm to you. As I type, I have strawberries sitting in my fridge from California. Given that I’m all the way across the continent, I’m not sure I want to think about how many hands they’ve passed through…but I just can’t wait until berry season is finally here!!

    I do what I can to buy locally, too. Nothing makes me feel better than not only supporting local farms but also knowing my food came from just a short distance away…but sometimes it’s just not affordable. I try to split it up about half-way; buy half my fruits and veggies from the farmer’s market, other half from the grocery store. Better than nothing :]

  29. I’m in the peach state and am pretty sure I haven’t seen a local peach ever. I could use a good avacado! I love guac

  30. I am a HUGE locavore. From food to local businesses, I try to support the community as often as I can. I’m especially passionate about the animal products I eat being local, since it eliminates a lot of the issues I have with environmentalism and humanity (or lack thereof) in the meat and dairy industry. We have pretty great farmer’s markets in PA, but I am envious of the year-round Cali produce and the huge variety you have!

    And I’m allergic to avocados : (

  31. How did you score those?! I love CA avocados. Mmmm. I worked the info booth at the Hillcrest Farmers Market last year and loveddd eating all that delicious, locally grown fruit and veggies every Sunday!

  32. My favorite local food grower to support: ME! I need to get my butt in gear and plant my veggies.

    I’m still waiting for the local avocados to drop below a buck apiece. I occasionally get a deal on the “over-ripe veggie bargain rack”, but not regularly. I want chocolate avocado mousse!

  33. we buy meat at the Farmer’s market and vegetables too! They don’t seem to grow much fruit in GA other than peaches, at least locally but I do buy what I can.

  34. I’m so jealous that you can get local avocadoes! I try to buy mostly local in the summers but avocadoes are an exception because we definitely can’t grow them here in Ontario. :P

    I love them on salads and sandwiches, but I’ve also tried baking with them too. Allie @ Live Laugh Eat has a great Avocado Banana Bread recipe!

  35. oh I adore avocados!! their subtle taste and buttery flavor is delicious! I love them in a wrap or sandwich but ill also take guacamole anyday!!!

    I have been seeing so many people use avo’s in shakes and it looks so good!!! I must try that soon! I am sure they add to the creaminess of it for sure!

    I would love to be a part of a local CSA here in boston! i know there are a bunch, I just need to get myself over there to find out how to be a part of it!

  36. I feel the same way about this area, so many wonderful fresh ingredients grown locally. Very cool on the avocados, I used to get bags of them from a friend’s tree while living in Florida and actually started a few trees in my yard from the pits. But we sold the house before the trees produced. :-)

    1. Yes, I get a farm box and hit farmer’s markets a lot, just picked up a $20 bag of local walnuts from one today.
    2. Yes! I go through quite a few each week.
    3. Avocado dressings, guac, dips and just straight up.

  37. Words cannot explain how jealous I am that you have access to locally grown avocados!!! I LOOOVVEEE avocados. I like them on tacos and on toasted avocado/tomato sandwiches.

  38. I saw those other posts about avocados direct and entered the giveaways….I would love to live in a climate with avocados. i dated a guy who lived in Santa Cruz with an avo tree in his backyard. Jealous.

    I may have to start ordering from them next year. I’ve been spoiled living here for the last 6 years. I don’t think there will be too many avocados in Dec in northern WI.

    • I used to have an avo tree in the backyard of one of the houses i lived in here. an an orange, lemon, meyer lemon, herbs, basil, etc trees and plants.

      yeah, winters in the midwest, eating locally and seasonally would mean eating snow!

  39. This is awesome! I wish I still lived in CA :) I really, really want to join a CSA and start supporting local farmers/growers. I’m checking a few out near me and am ready to make the plunge!

  40. SO awesome Averie!!! I love it when the Farmer’s Market starts in the summer… it’s so great to meet the people who grow the crops and know exactly where it’s coming from. There are so many advantages to buying locally, and it always tastes so delicious on TOP of that!

  41. Avocados are amazing! I seriously love them so much. I can’t remember a time in my life when I Haven’t like them! I have been craving them lately too!

  42. That is SO cool, especially that they HAND PICK!! Wow I’m jealous :D

  43. I am a huge fan of local produce. Good, fresh guacamole is always my favorite way to have avocados. That or with a great omelet.

  44. I love avocados but I always forget we have them in the house. I try to support local produce as much as possible, but it’s very very expensive here… so I’m not able to do it as much as possible. My favorite way to enjoy avocado is mashed up with seasonings and made into a fancy dressing!

  45. Wow! That is so awesome that only one person touched your food before it came to you! That is truly amazing. I am loving all of your pretty pictures!

  46. I have an avocado that is yet to ripen. It is kind of fun to think of how I’ll use it. I think avocados could be a form of currency. They are that yummy and healthy!

  47. LOVE avocados. They’re so damn expensive around here though.

    So my sister just got back from San Diego over the weekend. She said it is soooooo amazing, like seriously she wants to move. She is making me go visit it next time. We’ll have to meet up! :)

  48. That’s great to know that they are there as I live in San Diego (well right now San Luis Obispo). I went to their website and found out that Ben went to Cal Poly, awesome! I love going to Farmer’s Markets especially up here in SLO and down in San Diego in Encinitas.

  49. I’m equally obsessed with locally grown avocados! I even bring them as gifts to friends in other states when I visit. I swear that California grown avocados are so much more flavorful than any other variety. Love you blog btw!

  50. Its just amazing to see the compilation you bring with each blog post of yours and equally well reflects the amount of hard work and research you put in to bring out these amazing posts. Also, it is this quality and labor of yours that has always kept readers binded to the spell of your magic.

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