Health Food Writer Tours California Avocado Grove (and Giveaway!)

California Avocados on the branch

Avocados on the branchSeptember tends to be one of the busiest months of my year, filled with food writer and registered dietitian conferences on top of my duties as a nutrition spokesperson. For the past few days I’ve been in San Diego at the American Dietetic Association Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo, as both nutrition speaker and attendee.

Before I checked into my room a bus whisked me away to tour an avocado grove, a media nutritionist event hosted by California Avocados. I keep these tasty fruits on hand like other people do bananas, so I was thrilled to receive an invite.

Meal Makeover Moms Liz Weiss and Janice BissexThe entertainment began on the ride there as The Meal Makeover Moms Janice Bissex and Liz Weiss praised avocados while juggling them.

Media nutritionists visit California avocado groveThe backdrop for our lunch was a patio perched beside a pond in the valley between the rolling mountains.

California Avocados host luncheon for media nutritionistsI’m a little obsessed with Mason jars and love how they were utilized in these cute centerpieces.

California Avocado grove ownersThe owners of the grove were precious.

Arugula salad with Beets, Goat Cheese, and AvocadosLunch couldn’t come soon enough following my morning of travel. I will definitely try preparing this salad of wild baby arugula, roasted beets, goat cheese, and avocados tossed in lemon vinaigrette. We also sipped on iced tea with fresh crushed raspberries.

Rockfish en Papillote with Quinoa PilafThe main course was Rockfish en Papillote (baked in paper) with tomatoes, garlic, and capers, served with smoked avocado quinoa tabbouleh with zucchini.

Opened Rockfish en Papillote with Quinoa Pilaf

Chocolate Avocado Pudding with StrawberriesJanice and Liz demonstrated how to cut an avocado while we enjoyed this chocolate avocado pudding. I demolished every morsel of food on the plates I was served, yet still felt comfortable afterward. That’s the beneficial goodness of real, fresh food.

How to Cut an Avocado

I picked up two favorite take-home tips. First, substitute 1/2 avocado (equaling 1/2 cup) for one stick of butter, when a recipe calls for two. The second tip was to be sure to eat the darkest green part of the avocado (the pulp on the outer edge), which contains the highest concentration of nutrients like beta-carotene.

View walking to the avocado groveAfter lunch, we strolled up to the avocado grove.

Avocado farmer in an avocado groveThe farmer shared a few fascinating tidbits.

  • The peak season for California avocados is March through September, and up to November for the northern parts of the state. May and June produce the tastiest avocados, which must be the explanation for my frequent guacamole cravings, kicked off annually by Cinco de Mayo. An icy cold margarita poolside doesn’t hurt.
  • Avocados don’t ripen until picked, unless hot weather begins the process prematurely on the branch.
  • The leaves fall from the avocado tree on an ongoing basis. In California, the leaves remain under the trees, resulting in natural self-mulching.
Golf course on an avocado grove

The family designed a 9-hole golf course beside the grove.

Liz Weiss interviewed Carolyn O’Neil

Liz Weiss interviewed Carolyn O’Neil (Lady of the Refrigerator on Alton Brown’s Good Eats) and me after the tour.

We returned to the hotel where the information exchange continued.

Spending the day with a group of food-connected people passionate about avocados was a delicious way to kick off the conference.

No Whine with Dinner BookReader Giveaway!

The swag bags from the grove tour included a stainless steel avocado slicer and signed copy of Liz and Janice’s No Whine with Dinner: 150 healthy, kid-tested recipes from The Meal Makeover Moms. Since I already own both of these I’m excited to give the new ones away to one lucky reader. Just comment here or on my Facebook page and tell me your favorite way to enjoy avocados. To enter, submit your comment by Friday, October 14, midnight Pacific time. Good luck!

Estimated calories: 1085


You may also like:

Nutrition Expert Shows What’s New in Lunch Boxes, 3TV Phoenix

Pasta Salad Recipe with Chickpeas and Summer Vegetables

Culinary Expert’s Grocery Shopping Haul at Fry’s Marketplace


  1. Suzanne says:

    I like avocado on veggie burgers and any Mexican dish!! 🙂

    1. Suzanne, ditto on burgers and Mexican food! Love it. How was your wedding?!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Robert. Actually, according to the USDA Nutrient Database, one California avocado contains 227 calories. 227 very nutrient-rich calories. One serving, which is 1/5 of an avocado contains only 45 calories. And I’ve heard chocolate is poisonous to dogs (anyone care to weigh in?). That is not going to stop me (human) from eating good, dark chocolate regularly.


  2. Heather says:

    I like to use avocados to replace half the butter in a traditional chocolate chip recipe. No one can tell the difference! 🙂

    1. Heather, I still need to try that tip! Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Mary says:

    I love avacado on sandwiches, burgers, spicy black bean soup, burritos (or anything mexican), and salads, to name a few! when i lived in the caribbean, my neighbor had an avacado tree. i miss getting freshly picked avacados all the time! can’t grow them in new york 🙁

    1. Mary, all of your ideas sound divine. Oh, to have an avocado tree…

  4. Raina says:

    I enjoy using avocados on sandwiches instead of mayo so I get my creamy fix with some extra nutrients and fiber:)

    1. Raina, yes! Bring on the creaminess! Or, how about using mayo and avocados?? That’s what I do. Hehe. But just a thin layer of mayo.

    2. Raina says:

      The creamier the better! The two are delish together!! I make avocado sandwiches this way with salt and pepper you don’t really need any meat. yum! Thanks for the tip on peeling them closer to the skin to get the most nutrients, very interesting.

  5. Laurie says:

    I like to make a salad of diced avocados, halved grape tomatoes and diced persian cucumbers, pepper, sea salt, balsamic vinegar and a splash of olive oil. Delish.

    1. Laurie,
      That sounds amazing! And so refreshing.

  6. Kati @ AtP says:

    I LOVE avocados! I enjoy them on sandwiches, in salads, in quesadillas, and as a dip for veggies. I’ve never tried the chocolate chip cookie idea. That’s a must try!

  7. Kareen says:

    I also keep avocados on hand like bananas. They’re always ripe ones ready to eat and others going through the ripening process. I love my mango & avocado salad that also includes red onions, cilantro and fresh lime juice. Soooo very refreshing!

    Thanks for sharing your experience at the grove 🙂

    1. Kareen,
      Your mango avo salad sound fab.

  8. Diane says:

    Guacamole! (just mash and add chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, a little dash of pepper, some cilantro- that’s it), I like it simple.

    We also serve it on the side when we have rice and beans or black bean soup.

    Our family loves them.

  9. Rebekka says:

    There are so many ways I enjoy avocados. I love making burritos using fresh diced avocados in them, also use them in salads and as an extra add in to baked goods. One of my most fave ways to eat an avocado is slice it in half, sprinkle on a bit of sea salt and pepper, then eat it. Yum!

  10. Leslie Lynch says:

    We mix avocado, salsa, lime and shredded cheese for our take on guac. We also have a great recipe for ‘greekamole’, which is guac with feta cheese and chopped onion and tomatoes. Delicious!!!

    1. Leslie,
      Loving the sound of your Greekamole!

  11. jessie says:

    I love to eat avocados all the differant ways .

  12. jessie says:

    Love them any way, they can be ate

  13. Carmen says:

    I love avocado on just about anything, but I really think it’s great on a BLT. I guess that would be a ABLT! My little boy like his sliced with a a little lime juice.

  14. Janelle says:

    I love making a BLT with thick turkey bacon, L, T and sliced avocado. Super delish! 2nd fav is on my scrambled eggs

    1. Janelle,
      Huh, I haven’t ever tried avocados on top of scrambled eggs. One more good usage tip! Thanks.

  15. Anita says:

    I enjoy avocados chunks on top of my mexican style soup along with a few tortilla chips…so good!

  16. Kay-Lynne Schaller says:

    I love to mash an avocado with a big spoonful of Salsa (Santa Barbara Olive Company Salsa or Trader Joes) and a squeeze of lime, and then put this on sandwiches, in omelettes, or just eat by the spoonful!

    1. Kay-Lynne,
      I do the same thing! – dice an avocado and stir in salsa. On of my favorite snacks. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. JM says:

    Wow – what beautiful pictures! I like to eat avocados plain, but I am definitely going to try them replacing butter in a cookie recipes.

    1. JM,
      Glad you like my photos – thank you! I just added 1/2 an avocado to a muffin recipe, and it worked out well.

  18. Linda Byrn says:

    In Indiana, when the tomatoes are ripe, I have avocado, tomato, lettuce sandwiches for lunch most days. When the tomatoes disappear, I slice the avocado in half, sprinkle it with salt, and eat it with a spoon, right out of the skin. Delicious!

    1. Linda,
      Your sandwich sounds good about now. Thanks!

  19. pat galas says:

    Avacodos are very popular at out house. My family never fail to ask for them on a salad or a sandwich. They enjoy the flavour and the health benefits they bring.

  20. audra says:

    I love avocado mixed into corn salad salsa. Delish.

    1. Audra, corn salad salsa does sound delish! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Mariseli says:

    I love avocados in sandwiches, salads, and burgers as well as in a well made guacamole. But, my favorite way to eat avocados is as a side item to a hearty meal. Put a little bit of salt on it and let it be the center of attention. Growing up my mom always had sliced avocados at the center of the dining table. Delicious!

    1. Hi Mariseli,
      I find myself eating avocados right out of the skin with just a sprinkle of salt lately, too!
      Thanks for sharing.

  22. Miranda says:

    I love avocados on tacos and sandwiches.

  23. Kathleen says:

    Love slices of avacado on my turkey and cheese sandwich

  24. sara says:

    I like to slice them thin and put them on a turkey on whole wheat sandwich!

    1. Gregory says:

      YUM, that sounds dvniie! When I lived in SoCal and we bought 4 avocados every week at the farmers’ market (year round!) I used to LOVE making a salad of butter lettuce, persimmon slices, and pecans with a simple honey mustard dressing – try it, it’ll totally transport you to Cali!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



This is the EXACT list of foods I buy and feed my family to create delicious, nourishing, whole-food meals. You'll also receive my monthly newsletter.

it's free!
I will never share your email with third parties.


Get my free, twice-monthly emails with quick and easy tips and recipes to eat healthier every day. Plus, you'll receive my free clean eating grocery list!

You have Successfully Subscribed!