Avocado Tour

Last weekend I was invited by the California Avocado Commission on an Avocado Tour.

I was with about one dozen other Southern California bloggers.

We toured one of California’s leading avocado packing houses, West Pak.

MY OTHER RECIPES

We learned all sorts of avocado factoids. For instance, avocados aren’t picked ripe from the tree. They begin to ripen after they’re picked.

If you ever need to speed the ripening process of an avocado, put it in a brown paper bag on the counter with a banana or an apple, and that should speed things up. And don’t try to ripen avocados in the refrigerator; it won’t happen.

We also learned that California avocados are hand-grown by nearly 5,000 growers.

The growers take such pride in their crops and are committed to growing avocados of the highest quality.

I didn’t know that California produces about 90 percent of the nation’s avocado crop.

It was fun to see all those avocados rollin’ down the river before being boxed for up for their next stop: grocery stores.

You know you’re hanging out with bloggers when everyone has their cameras, iPhones, DSLRs, and Flip cameras at the ready.

As bloggers, we even double fist. My camera was over my neck and my iPhone was in my hand. The KitchenAid event was the same way. I love it.

Greg and Rachael in action about to capture the perfect shot of rolling avocados.

There was also a grove tour with an avocado growner and a lunch showcasing the versatility and flavor of fresh California avocados.

It was fun to see behind-the-scenes glimpses of the farm-to-fork journey of avocados and also catch up with some of my favorite SoCal bloggers.

Here are a few of my favorite avocado recipes, just in time for Cinco de Mayo:

Avocado, Cream Cheese, and Salsa-Stuffed Puff Pastries (with a vegan option)

Warm avocado, with melted cream cheese, flavored with two kinds of salsa.

Just a touch of sweet from the mango salsa, and a kick from the green salsa verde, work well with avocados.

Vanilla Avocado Banana Ice Cream (Raw, Vegan, GF) Rich, creamy, sweet, and very ice cream-like.

People write to me frequently telling me how much they love this healthier recipe for “ice cream” and that it doesn’t taste like avocados.

Cheater’s Guacamole

3 minute recipe. No veggie, onion, or garlic chopping required.

Vanilla Avocado Banana Smoothie in a Bowl

Sweet, creamy, pudding-like. Or thin it out a bit more and drink it with a straw like a smoothie.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse (Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free)

This recipe takes 2 minutes to make and when I bring it to a party, no one ever guesses what the secret ingredient is, and it’s instantly devoured.

People tell me they prefer it to traditional chocolate mousse made with cream, sugar, boiling and baking.

I’m all about the easier, tastier alternatives.

As part of the tour, we were each given five avocados in a goodie bag to take home.

I’ve been enjoying them.


Have you ever been on a farm tour, factory tour, or fun field trip?

It had been years since I did anything like this.

I’m thinking middle school and taking a trip to the fire station. This field trip trumped that one by just a wee bit.

Do you like avocados? What’s your favorite way to eat them?

Thanks for the Kitchen Knives Giveaway entries

83 comments on “Avocado Tour”

  1. I have been to the Tillamook Cheese Factory (multiple times since it’s on the way to the beach). Avocado is awesome in smoothies. Makes them so thick and pudding-like. Yum!

  2. I’ve never been on a factory tour but I do love avocados. My parents have an avocado tree in their backyard in the Philippines and every time I go home, I can’t get enough. My favorite way to eat avocado is either in avocodo toast http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com/healthy/a-simple-sandwich-avocado-and-mozzarella or as a dessert with condensed milk (which I think you will love too) :)

  3. Woah – what a fun field trip. I adore avocados and am always looking for new ways to work them into my cooking and baking. Love the avocado ice cream recipe – I’ll be trying that soon. Wish I could have joined you!!!

  4. I eat them straight up with a spoon. I used to eat them with saltines, just cut open use the saltine as a scoop. I also LOVE them mashed on a toasted corn tortilla, with a little lime juice and some sea salt. I love them so much, I really don’t like to add too much that just complicates the taste.

    Since I’m a huge biology nerd, I knew all this, but it is great to see people learning out in the natural avocado habitat! I am incredibly jealous of your proximity. I used to have an avo tree in my backyard in Hawaii. The avocados were really watery (they weren’t Hass), but they were free, so you know I ate them. A LOT.

    • Simple is best with most anything, really. There’s a time and place for doctored up desserts but with fruits/veggies, keeping them basic and not masking the flavor or overcooking is my preference. Which is sort of how I ended up “raw”…I have always eaten that way but for a few years it had a special name. Now, it’s just…eating, normal. Combined with…doctored up desserts of course :)

  5. I’m going on a blogger’s tour of Madison, WI in the beginning of June. We are touring a whole bunch of farms/cheese making facilities. I can’t wait! (I LOVE cheese :)

  6. Lucky you! Avocados are just the best! Love all of your recipe ideas.

  7. I am so jealous of this. I love, love avocados!

  8. Averie, I just bought my first avocado because of you. Your easy guacamole recipe inspired me. It’s still sitting on the counter though…

    I’m kind of afraid of it.

    I’ve never had avocado before. Once I cut into it, I have to use it though right? Because it goes a bit brown? Or can I keep half in the fridge for another day?

    • You can cut it in half, lengthwise, and use the half without the pit, save the half with the pit (keep the pit in it, reduces the browning rate) and then just wrap with plastic wrap tightly around it and refrigerate. I find I can get a good 24+ hours before it starts to brown. But really my dear, we are talking about 1 avocado. It’s like 1 apple..not really that big :)

  9. Darling, will you be my new best friend? I am avocado OBSESSED, and eat guacamole about 5/7 nights a week. I’m not kidding. For about 5 years now, in fact…

    Love this post, and your whole blog!!

    Have a great weekend, doll!
    xo

  10. we would be in heaven!!! love avocados, how fun!

  11. Love ’em. I’m going to a Cinco de Mayo party tomorrow, and I assume others will be coming with guacamole and chips; I’m bringing a bowl of papaya and mango chunks mixed with lime juice and cilantro.

  12. That looks like such a fun tour! Avocados are my favorite, but they are one of those foods that are so foreign to me (as far as their origin). It’s one of those “exotic” produce items here on the east coast. Usually, they’re absurdly over-priced. I’ve taken some tours in my time. The most recent was a tour of the Firefly Vodka distillery on Wadmalaw Island, SC, just outside of Charleston. That was pretty cool. I have a go-to lunch salad that highlights avocados. I use spinach or kale for the base, mandarin orange slices, 1 large avocado (diced), almond slivers (or walnuts), dried cranberries (Craisins are easiest/cheapest), and a light, sweet dressing — either TJ’s Asian Sesame or Newman’s Own Sesame Ginger —my 2 favorites! Give it a try. It’s a perfect summer salad!

  13. Avocados are a huge part of our diet. Here in AZ we can frequently find avos for fifty cents a piece so adding that healthy fat to our diet is a bit cheaper here. As a fifth grader my class took a tour of the green bean plant in Oxnard, Ca. I remember thinking how odd it was that the same green beans would be packaged undere so many different brands. Memories. Looks like you had a good time and yes, your pictures were great!!!!

  14. My favorite way to use avocado is the chocolate mousse, and my husband really likes it too. My mustard seeds have been soaking all day and they seem about double in size–I’ll make the mustard tomorrow and let you know how it is!

    • Oh they are ready to be blended! Can’t wait to hear about it!

      And so glad you like the avo mousse; you can freeze it and let it become almost ice-cream like. Won’t really ever freeze solid b/c of the fat in the avos. It’s even more decadent that way I think!

  15. Our house loves avocados! A friend of ours calls them “nature’s cream cheese”. When they go on sale I buy several dozen, slice them & freeze them. When I saw your tip about ripening them faster I wondered about the opposite – slowing ripening down. Sometimes when I buy several dozen I don’t have time to prep them for freezing right away & sometimes one or two is spoiled when I finally do it. Do you think if I put them in the fridge whole it would slow the ripening process?

    • I put them in the fridge to slow the ripening, too. If I know I am going to have 2 or 3 that are going to all come ripe on the same day, I will put 2 of the 3 in the fridge, keep one out. And then the next two days, use one each day from the fridge. Or make a huge batch of avo mousse that I linked in the post, and then freeze that. It’s wonderful frozen as “ice cream” or make smoothies with them, i.e. the avo ice cream I linked, and then freeze. Takes 10 mins to unthaw and come up to room temp.

      Make stuff with them & basically freeze what you make for a later date is what I do.

  16. I LOVE avocados! That tour looks like great fun! Good tip about the paper bag for ripening.

  17. What a fun tour, lucky! I’d love to see this! I’ve been on a few factory and winery tours, fun stuff.

  18. I have been eating more avocados lately than I ever have, I think. What a fun tour – and I’m loving all of your avocado recipes!

  19. Yep, I like avocados a lot. I really like them as a garnish on tortilla soup, or in guacamole.

  20. This trip looks like it was so fun! Being with a group of bloggers made it even better, I’m sure.

    It’s been a while since I’ve gone on a factory tour, actually …. I think the last one I went on was a beer brewery tour, ha! But, I am going on a chocolate factory tour next month in Seattle, pretty excited about it!

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