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

Many avocados

I was with about one dozen other Southern California bloggers.

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

Avocado factory overhead

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.

Hass Avocados 5 stages of ripeness poster

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.

Avocados

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.

Avocados on assembly line

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.

People in hairnets videoing 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.

Avocado halves

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)

Open Avocado, Cream Cheese, and Salsa-Stuffed Puff Pastries

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.

Avocado, Cream Cheese, and Salsa-Stuffed Puff Pastries

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.

Vanilla Avocado Banana Ice Cream

Cheater’s Guacamole

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

Guacamole on chips

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.

Vanilla Avocado Banana Smoothie in a Bowl

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.

Raw Vegan Chocolate MousseRaw Vegan Chocolate Mousse

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.

Raw Vegan Chocolate Mousse

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

I’ve been enjoying them.

Avocado half

 

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

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