Culinary Press Release
California Avocado Farmers Help "Grow" Consumers' Love of the Fruit
- Jillian McMenamin
Jul 28 2011
California Growers Share their Stories and Delicious Avocado Recipes
IRVINE, Calif. (July 28, 2011) – Summer marks the peak season of California avocados, when the fruit is readily available and at its most delicious. So what better time than now to learn more about two of the nearly 5,000 California avocado farmers who take pride in growing the delicious fruit and their favorite avocado recipes.
Ninety percent of the nation’s avocados are hand-grown by farmers in California, all of whom take special care in growing premium avocados. Many of the California avocado groves are multi-generational and family operated.
Randy Axell is one of those growers. As a third generation avocado grower, Axell and his wife, Joanna, have raised their family on 40 acres of land in Santa Paula, Calif. called Rancho Rodoro. It is named from a combination of Axell’s parents’ names, Ross and Dorothy. Axell feels privileged to have grown up on a farm and to have provided the same opportunity to his children.
“I love being able to spend every day on a farm and in the groves. It’s very satisfying to be able to grow something from a tiny seed to a full tree,” explains Axell when asked about his favorite part of being a California avocado grower.
Randy’s passion for growing California avocados is clear in the quality of his trees and the fruit he harvests each season. His farm is operated to the standards of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification, a program that requires Randy to document everything he does on the farm as well as implement the best possible management practices to aid in preventing food safety issues. He sees these practices as a natural thing to do, to focus on food safety and sell the perfect piece of fruit.
To view videos of Randy Axell sharing his stories of growing California avocados, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com/randy-axell.
Fellow California avocado grower Mary Bergen was a city girl until her parents bought a ranch in Ojai, Calif. in 1957 – Rancho dos Rios. As a young child, she spent her time roaming the avocado groves and disappearing into the hills, which she says allowed her to gain an appreciation and love for the land.
Mary’s collegiate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara brought her love of nature full circle. After graduating with a master’s degree in marine biology, Mary turned her attention to the nature of the sea. However, she never forgot her love for the land and frequently spent time on the family farm, even taking over the operations of the ranch in 2000. Though she wasn’t completely versed in running a farm, with the help of other avocado growers, Mary has become more knowledgeable in the craft than she had ever thought possible.
“There’s a strong sense of community,” says Bergen about being a California avocado farmer. “I’m more connected with the community here than I ever was in the city. It’s wonderful to grow something people love. It’s great to grow something outstanding.”
To view videos of Mary Bergen discussing the life of a California avocado grower, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com/mary-bergen.
With California avocados now in season, it is the ideal time to enjoy this delicious fruit, hand-grown by farmers like Randy Axell and Mary Bergen. Both the Axell Family California Avocado Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Mary Bergen’s Shrimp, Endive and California Avocado Salad recipes show how those who produce the premium fruit like to enjoy it. For more recipes created by other California avocado growers, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com.
Recipe created by California avocado grower Randy Axell for the California Avocado Commission.
Prep Time: 5 minutes; Cook Time: 5 minutes; Total Time: 10 minutes
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- 8 slices whole wheat or honey wheat bread
- 1 ripe, fresh California avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
- 1 medium tomato, sliced
- 4 slices red onion
- Chili sauce, to taste
- 4 slices pepper jack cheese
- Olive oil cooking spray
- On each sandwich, place a slice of cheddar cheese, a layer of avocado, tomato, and onion slices. Add chili sauce to taste. Top with pepper jack cheese, and finish with remaining bread slices.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Spray skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Place sandwiches in skillet and cook until bread is browned. Turn and cook until cheese has melted. Serve hot.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 350; Total Fat 18 g (Sat 6 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 1.5 g, Mono 6 g); Cholesterol 25 mg; Sodium 610 mg; Total Carbohydrates 33 g; Dietary Fiber 7 g; Protein 19 g
Recipe created by California avocado grower Mary Bergen for the California Avocado Commission.
Prep Time: 45 minutes, including chill time; Cooking Time: 5 minutes;
Total Time: 50 minutes
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 tsp. coarse salt
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 Tbsp. crème fraîche
- 2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
- 2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
- 2 small Belgian endives
- 1 ripe, fresh California avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 small head butter lettuce
- Bring water, wine, half the salt and the bay leaf to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add half the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 1 minute. Transfer the shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon. Cook the remaining shrimp, transfer to the plate and let cool. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces.
- Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar and remaining salt in a medium bowl. Pour in olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in crème fraîche. Fold in shallots, chives and shrimp. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Separate endive leaves and thinly slice crosswise. Fold endive and avocado into shrimp mixture. Make a bed of lettuce on each salad plate and add a generous spoonful of the shrimp mixture to each plate and serve.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 480; Total Fat 30 g (Sat 4.5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 3 g, Mono 15 g); Cholesterol 225 mg; Sodium 1520 mg; Total Carbohydrates 17 g; Dietary Fiber 12 g; Protein 29 g
*Large avocados are recommended for these recipes. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.
About the California Avocado Commission
Created in 1978, the California Avocado Commission strives to increase demand for California avocados through advertising, promotion and public relations, and engages in related industry activities that benefit the state’s nearly 5,000 avocado growers. The California Avocado Commission serves as the official information source for California avocados and the California avocado industry. For information about California avocados, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com, become a fan at Facebook.com/CaliforniaAvocados and follow the California Avocado Commission on Twitter at Twitter.com/CA_Avocados.