California Avocados: From The Groves to Your Plate

When I was a kid, coming home from school would involve a quick snack right before we started on homework. More often than not, it would be a palta (Spanish for Avocado)with a sprinkle of salt, with a spoon. My abuelita and I would sit and split one avocado, savoring each spoonful of goodness one by one. It started my love affair with the California Avocado.

View from Pinkerton Ranch

The view from Pinkerton Ranch

California Avocados

Early last month, I had a chance to attend a California Avocado grove tour and brunch with the CA Avocado Commission. I was so thrilled to get a chance to see first hand how one of my favorite fruits (1 seed= fruit!) grow and make it from the field to my plate. We headed to Oxnard, CA to spend the day at the Pinkerton Ranch and meet with Dan Pinkerton, one of the California Avocado farmers. Did you know that in California there are over 58,000 acres of avocados from the Bay to San Diego, and CA avocados account for 90% of the avocados eaten in this country? My mind was blown. Although I probably eat 50% of that myself…so ya know, it’s good that they produce that much!

Our first stop was met with a delicious brunch at the home . This year, the CA Avocado Commission is promoting their “Wake Up To Breakfast with California Avocados,” so it was appropriate that we enjoyed many breakfast foods…with a twist. My favorite was a brunch variation of ceviche. YUM.

Ceviche with Avocado

We were there about a week before the first harvest took place and got a chance to head to the Avocado Tree Grove to see how an avocado grows. We walked right into the field and immediately were pointed out what I like to call, “baby” avocados. That’s avocados when they are just tiny nubs on the tree.

Avocado Buds #CAAvocados

Then we saw avocados that were ready for harvesting. We were given some tools to try to pick some avocados ourselves. I fit right in!

CA Avocado tree

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Avocados are picked by hand, one by one and then put into a 900 lb plastic bin and whisked off by truck to a packing house, which we got to tour also. Pinkerton farm’s Avocados are packed by Mission Produce in Oxnard. Here they are cooled, washed, coated with a thin layer of wax, sorted by machine and then rejects are hand picked.

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They are then run through another machine to be sized, stickered and packed into respective boxes depending on their destinations.

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Sometimes they get sent to a ripening room before being shipped. The goal is always to have to nearly ripe avocados so that you can make your own fresh guacamole that day. (Tip: when you need to hurry the ripening process for an avocado at home, place in a brown paper bag with a banana. The ethylene speeds up the process!)

At the end of the day, I was even more in love with California Avocados than I was when I got there. Being sent home with a bag load of them, my mind was racing with ideas on how to use them (and I of course, made some Avocado Fries again, yum!). The Pinkerton Family and the VP of of marketing for the California Avocado Commission, Jan DeLyser, were the most informative and gracious hosts and I am a California Avocado girl for life….you should be too.

Disclosure: I attended a media tour and brunch for the purposes of this post. No compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. All photographs are property of Yolanda Machado and may not be re-used, re-posted or re-purposed without express written permission, any violation will be persued to the full extent of the law.

Comments

  1. Erin W says

    I love avocados as well! That’s such a neat idea to get to tour an avocado farm – I would love to do that. Too bad I live in Georgia!

  2. Darlene Jones-Nelson says

    I love my avocado’s! I had never been introduced to them till recently! Like 4 years ago! I really wish I would have been cause as soon as I was I was hooked! I make guacamole all of the time!

  3. Laura Johnson says

    I love avocados too, wondering if you would post the recipe of your avocado salad.

  4. Ttrockwood says

    How cool to see how avocados are grown and harvested! I eat at least two a week….!

  5. Jo-Ann Brightman says

    I love the photos of your trip. I wish I could have been there. I didn’t know that 90% of the avocados eaten in the US come from California . I like that now there are even more ways to eat this healthy fruit – even in ice cream

  6. Kelly says

    This was really cool, we love avocados and they’re really good for you so it’s interesting to learn where they come from.

  7. Susan Johnson says

    I’ve eaten avocados since I was a kid growing up in Arizona, and still can’t get enough of avocados! I now live in Oregon, where people know little about them, and many times, there will be a pile of avocados on display in the middle of Safeway that are almost black they’re so over-ripe. It’s shameful. I tend to get them in Costco, but they’re not always good. I miss good guacamole, along with the rest of the Southwest! Looks like you had a fantastic time at Pinkerton Farm and can count on the quality of California Avocados!

  8. Rosie says

    I”m more in love with avocados now, too! I would adore to go on that trip, and baby avocados are so cute! I never gave it any thought the growing & harvesting. You are probably very healthy to have had a snack of a half an avocado, instead of who knows what! What a fun and informative post!

  9. Jeannie_D says

    As a distant relative of the Pinkerton family line which produced the original Pinkerton variety avocados, I’ve been trying to find a source where I can place an order (online or via telephone) to have a gift box of Pinkerton avocados sent to my brother and family in Ohio. Can anyone recommend a California source for such an order? Thank you in advance.

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