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California Avocados Have That WOW Factor

A group of us at Earl’s just split a case of California Avocados from the San Diego area. With it being relatively early in the season I wasn’t expecting the “wow factor” we taste with more mature avocados.  Boy was I surprised when my first bite was nutty, creamy and rich in flavor. The avocado went perfectly with freshly caught uni over rice and a ponzu dipping sauce giving a delicious umami flavor to the dish.

The California season starts in January/February in San Diego and continues north through Ojai, 1½ hours north of Los Angeles, up through Santa Barbara county and even as far north as Cambria and Cayucos, located a little north of San Luis Obispo and west of Paso Robles on the coast.

As you shop for avocados it is good to be aware of their growing cycles so you are not disappointed with an early crop.  The cycle of maturation, no matter where avocados are grown in the world, means the early crop will have low oil content, low flavor and uneven inconsistent ripening.  The trees are full of fruit and in order to continue to size and produce, the tree needs to be relieved of their burden to make room for the next more flavorful picking.  The oil content will develop as they mature with each picking.  For example, Hass avocados from San Diego where the first crop develops will taste the best earliest in the year, think April/May.  As the months go on avocados from the central coast and even farther north will develop the high oil content and flavor we expect from a California avocado.

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Though there aren’t many Mexican avocados left, this is a good time of year for buyers to be aware that there can be overlap with California avocados.  Beware that the Mexican avocado is a very mature piece of fruit and will ripen quickly.  Some retailers may still have them out in mixed bins.  Be sure to check the stickers or ask your produce person the country of origin.  California avocados are less mature right now and will ripen slower and still have great flavor.

We can look forward to the avocados from the San Diego area tasting even better as we get into late April and early May.  What is your favorite avocado recipe? Please post them on our Facebook wall.

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