Culinary Press Release
California Avocado Growers Share Family Favorite Recipes to Kick off the Season
- Jillian McMenamin
- (213) 438-8834
Mar 29 2012
Chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger Get a First-Hand Look at This Year’s Fruit out in the Grove
IRVINE, Calif. (March 29, 2012) – Nearly 5,000 California avocado growers have been tending their crops throughout the year to get ready for California avocado season, which runs from spring through fall. Some of these growers are sharing their favorite “straight from the farm” recipes that highlight the versatility of avocados, along with a behind-the-scenes look at the farm-to-fork journey of this premium fruit.
Ninety percent of the nation’s avocado crop is grown in California and every grower has their own story. For some California avocado growers, farming has always been a part of their family and the tradition has been handed down from generation to generation. Some have been inspired to join the farming community, developing their groves from the ground up. California avocado growers Dorcas McFarlane of Santa Paula, Calif. and Doug O’Hara of Camarillo, Calif. are just two of the thousands of growers who take pride in planting and harvesting their trees by hand.
Dorcas McFarlane is the epitome of a successful, independent woman. As a mother of six, McFarlane took over her family’s 280-acre ranch after her husband passed away in 1972. She balanced being a full-time mom with her new occupation as a full-time grower with grace, tenacity and a willingness to learn. While becoming the “person in charge” of the ranch, she learned that other farmers were willing to lend a helping hand, sharing their insights and resources, so she could become more knowledgeable about avocado production. Through those experiences, she learned how close-knit the farming industry could be and is proud to be part of this “community.”
Grower Doug O’Hara’s love for agriculture started during his studies at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where he majored in Soil Science and quickly fell in love with farming. After getting a grasp of what it took to tend to a farm, O’Hara and his family decided to develop their own California avocado grove. With the help of his daughters and wife, O’Hara planted many of the avocado trees currently on their 8-acre ranch in Valley Center, Calif., as well as the 21 California avocado trees surrounding their Camarillo, Calif. home.
To this day, growing avocados is still very much a family business for them. O’Hara has taught his daughters everything about growing California avocados, including tending to the trees, irrigating the grove and picking the perfect piece of fruit. He believes that the key to being a successful California avocado grower is growing a product that he loves and that everyone else loves too – “you have to love what you do in order to produce something great from the ground up.”
Recently, O’Hara brought well-known chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, also known as the Too Hot Tamales, into a California avocado grove to share the hand-grown process that goes into producing this delicious fruit. Milliken and Feniger, both of whom have competed on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” are the chef/owners of the popular Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., Downtown Los Angeles and Las Vegas, along with the Border Grill Truck. To view or download the farm-to-fork video of the chefs getting a behind-the-scenes look at the grove, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com/california-avocado-grove-tour.
With California avocados now in season, it is the ideal time to enjoy this consistently reliable delicious fruit, hand-grown by farmers like Dorcas McFarlane and Doug O’Hara. Both Dorcas McFarlane’s Chicken and California Avocado Casserole and the O’Hara Family Guacamole recipes show how those who produce the premium fruit like to enjoy it.
Prep Time: 20 minutes (including cooling time) Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
- 1 (16-oz.) container salsa verde (fresh green salsa in the refrigerated section)
- 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 12 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips
- 3 cups cooked shredded chicken
- 1 (8-oz.) package shredded jack cheese
- 1 (8-oz.) package shredded low-fat Mexican cheese
- 2 ripe, fresh California avocados, halved, seeded, peeled and chopped
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- California Avocado Sauce (see make-ahead recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine salsa verde and chicken broth in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Cover bottom of prepared baking dish with half the tortilla pieces. Spoon half the salsa verde mixture over tortillas. Scatter half the chicken over salsa verde. Sprinkle with half of the cheeses. Spoon all the avocados evenly over cheese and sprinkle lightly with salt. Place remaining tortilla pieces on top of avocado, pressing gently to compress ingredients. Spoon remaining salsa verde mixture over tortillas, followed by the remaining chicken. Top with remaining cheese.
- Bake until cheese is bubbly and begins to brown, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool 10 minutes before serving.
California Avocado Sauce
- 1 ripe, fresh California avocado, peeled and seeded
- 2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- Place all ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor or blender and puree until smooth.
- Top the casserole with sauce or serve on the side.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 420; Total Fat 24 g (Sat 11 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 2 g, Mono 9 g); Cholesterol 80 mg; Sodium 820 mg; Total Carbohydrates 23 g; Dietary Fiber 4 g; Protein 31 g
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
- 2 ears of corn
- 4 ripe, fresh California avocados, peeled and seeded
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 jalapeño, with seeds removed
- 1/2 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
- 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
- Hot sauce, to taste (optional)
- 1/2 lime or lemon, juiced
- Remove kernels from cob and place in pan. Over medium heat, roast the corn until it starts to caramelize. Set aside to cool. (Note: You also can roast the corn in the husk. Simply remove the silks and soak in water for about 10 minutes and then place on the grill, cooking until the kernels begin to color)
- Place the avocado in a bowl and mash with a potato masher or back of a fork, leaving it somewhat chunky.
- Add in the garlic, onion and jalapeño.
- Stir in the cooled corn kernels, cilantro, garlic salt and Worcestershire sauce. Mix until combined.
- Season with hot sauce to your taste.
- Add the lemon or lime juice and mix well.
Note: If not serving immediately, take plastic wrap and cover the surface of the guacamole Refrigerate until time to serve. Enjoy!
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 158; Total Fat 12 g (Sat 1.5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 1.5 g, Mono 8 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 170 mg; Total Carbohydrates 15 g; Dietary Fiber 4 g; Protein 4 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.
For more recipes that feature fresh California avocados, visit the California Avocado Commission website at CaliforniaAvocado.com.
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.
Editor's note: High-resolution images of these California avocado growers and their recipes are available for download at CaliforniaAvocado.com/PressRoom.