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

palm trees and blue sky

…or the flowers that grow year-round here…

pink flowerSaw 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.

four avocados 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 1973

The farm in 2010

The farm in 2010Photo Source

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

avocados

…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.

pineapples and squash on green table
fruits on farmer's market table
Baby gourmet squash and Japanese turnips on tableLots 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.

avocados

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

Mrs Dash on avocado
guacamole on crackersBut 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

avocados in blenderavocados in blender
Agave nectar, chocolate, and avocados

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

Vegan Chocolate mousseVegan Chocolate mousse

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.

 

Vegan Chocolate mousse

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

The Rich Taste of Healthy Living Avocados and Your Health Eye Health: Avocados contain more carotenoid lutein than many common fruits, which defend against macular degeneration and cataracts and slow age-related eye diseases. Heart Health: One cup of avocado contains 23% of your daily value of folate. Studies have shown that people with diets rich in folate have a lower risk of heart disease. Avocados have other heart-healthy ingredients including vitamin E, monounsaturated fats, and glutathione. Lower Cholesterol: Avocados are rich in beta-sitosterol, which helps lower cholesterol levels. Studies have shown an average drop in cholesterol of 17% after consuming avocados for only one week. Aging & Cancer Defense: Avocados are an outstanding source of glutathione, a significant antioxidant for slowing aging and preventing can cer. Superior Nutrient Absorption: Eat your fruit and vegetables alongside avocados. Eating a salad with avocados, allows you to absorb five times the amount of carotenoids than a salad without avocados. Nutrients in other fruits and vegetables are enhanced when eaten with avocado. Weight Loss: Avocados give your body a great deal of nutrition from eating a small quantity of food. This hearty fruit helps your body feel full longer and keeps your blood sugar levels from spiking. www.CaliforniaAvocadosDirect.com

Nutrition Facts Serving Size 1/5 medium or 30grams or one ounce Amount Per Serving Calories 50 Calories from Fat 35 Total Fat 4.5grams Saturated Fat 0.5g Trans Fat Og Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5g Monounsaturated Fat 39 Cholesterol Omg Sodium Omg Potassium 140mg Total Carbohydrate 3g Dietary Fiber 19 Sugars Og Protein 1g Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 4% Calcium 0% Iron 2% Vitamin E 4% Thiamin 2% Riboflavin 4% Niacin 4% Vitamin B6 4% Folate 8% Pantothenic Acid 4% Phosphorus 2% Magnesium 2% Zinc 2% Copper 2% Manganese 2%

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.

Green avocado

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.

Questions:

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?

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