California Avocado with Chicken, Almonds and Mango and Tour of Avocado Farm

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We often take for granted where our food comes from and not stop for a second to think how or where and even more importantly, who produces our food. On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in May, we were guests of the California Avocado Commission to tour an avocado farm, packing facility, and meet the farmers.

avocado farmers

Over 6,000 California avocado farmers produce 90% of the nations avocados and almost all of it is in San Diego County. We met two of them, a father and son-in-law team of Chris Ambuul and Mike Sanders and their wonderful family who lives on and runs the Rancho Santo Thomas grove.  What really stood out to us was how much pride they had in the land, the grove, and everything  they do to grow avocados.  Chris’s little girls ran around playing in the groves as we toured, picking avocados straight from the trees. We couldn’t help but be envious about growing up on an avocado farm, but also thinking if it’s good for their little daughters and grand daugthers, it must be really good.  It turns out many avocado growers don’t use pesticides, but instead, treat harmful bugs by introducing their natural predators.

Not only did they give us a tour of their groves, they opened their kitchen and magnificent yard for us to enjoy.

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Along with Sara of Average Betty, Susan of Foodblogga, Jen of Domestic Divas, Darlene of My Burning Kitchen, Christie & Bryan of Pardon My Crumbs and a host of media members, our gang made three different types of avocado salads from Chef Trey Foshee.  Thank goodness it wasn’t a cooking competition or else it would have gotten ugly.

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The Rancho Santo Thomas grove had a gorgeous picnic area where we enjoyed our creations and finished our delicious lunch with an avocado twinkie and avocado cheese cake! The cheese cake is definitely on our to do list, especially for St. Patrick’s next year.

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Look! An avocado just fell into Hong’s lap! Good thing it wasn’t his head. Thanks,  Average Betty for the photos! We were taught how to pick avocados, which by the way, are all picked by hand. Even the ones on the very top of the trees with 30 ft ladders.  We took some videos of our tour so that you can not only see it in pictures, but see the pride in what they do yourself and how the California avocado gets to your grocery store and onto your table.

The hand-eye coordination and speed of the packers are AMAZING. If you only have time to watch for 10 seconds, skip to 1:53 and see how fast the ladies pack the boxes. That’s real time folks, no high speed editing. Hope you enjoy! Here’s one of the great Avocado recipes we learned on our trip, a great way to serve summer time salad.

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California Avocado with Chicken, Almonds, and Mango

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup chicken breast meat
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 shallot, peeled and sliced
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup whole almonds, toasted and lightly crushed
1/2 cup mango, peeled, seeded and diced
1/4 cup radish, sliced thin
2 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh Mint, chopped
3 fresh, ripe California avocados, cut in half with pits removed
Salt, to taste
Fresh black pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a medium sauce pot, place the chicken meat and cover with water. Bring to a simmer and poach the chicken until cooked, approximately 3-5 minutes. Reserve and chill.

In the bowl of a blender, combine the ginger, shallot, fish sauce and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl and whisk in the olive oil.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine blend with remaining ingredients. Toss well and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to tast.

Fill each avocado half with even amounts of the mixture and serve.

Courtesy of Chef Trey Foshee

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22 Responses to “California Avocado with Chicken, Almonds and Mango and Tour of Avocado Farm”

  1. 1

    Nelly Rodriguez — June 8, 2011 @ 10:20 am

    this sounds like my dream tour! :)

  2. 2

    Pinoy Panda — June 8, 2011 @ 10:27 am

    Wow! Now this is one salad I don’t mind having on a regular basis. It’s so simple and looks like it packs a lot of flavor and texture. That avocado cheesecake is quite intriguing too. I don’t mind trying that as well.

  3. 3

    kirbie — June 8, 2011 @ 10:52 am

    The salad looks beautiful. The avocado twinkie sounds so interesting!

  4. 4

    slammie — June 8, 2011 @ 11:00 am

    Yum! Wow! Those ladies ARE super fast.

  5. 5

    Gastronomer — June 8, 2011 @ 11:41 am

    I’ve been averaging an avocado a day for the past three weeks! So yummy!

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — June 8th, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

      didn’t know you’re such an avocado fiend, and all those groves are right in your home town!

  6. 6

    averagebetty — June 8, 2011 @ 12:18 pm

    What a great weekend — love your video, so fun to get to relive it :) Mmmm… craving that Chicken Salad now. Hope to see you kids again soon!!

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — June 8th, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

      thanks, Sara! It was such a fun time–hope to see you around soon!

  7. 7

    Bianca @ South Bay Rants n Raves — June 8, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

    Sounds like a fun tour. Thanks for the recipe too!

  8. 8

    SandDrift — June 9, 2011 @ 9:27 am

    Hate to admit that wife and I are Costco fans when it comes to avocados. Labels indicated California so at least we’re eating “locally”; might even be from SD :) Just got another bunch for the counter while the other ones are riping. Just love the article!

    Now, is it true that trees planted from seedlings don’t bear fruits?

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — June 9th, 2011 @ 9:52 am

      Actually, Costco and Sam’s Club are some of the biggest buyers of CA avocados, we were told. We’re no experts, but if you keep the pit and sprout a tree it won’t grow fruit, the seedlings need to be grafted.

  9. 9

    KMS — June 10, 2011 @ 9:29 am

    looks like such an amazing time, guys!! and the avocado cheesecake? can’t wait!! xo.

  10. 10

    Kung Food Panda — June 11, 2011 @ 6:55 am

    I love avocados. It’s great you guys were able to tour the farm and facilities.

    That avocado packing lady in the video was skilled, that’s what I have to say.

  11. 11

    Jen (The Domestic Diva) — June 11, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

    Wow, your pictures turned out so amazing! And what a great article! Miss you guys, and hope we can all hang out soon…

    xo
    Jen

  12. 12

    Cris Soldano — June 13, 2011 @ 12:38 am

    This is a marvelous post. Thanks a ton for bothering to describe all of this out for folks. It truly is a great guide!

  13. 13

    Mariko — June 15, 2011 @ 9:39 pm

    OOooooo. That is really fun. And I am going to try that recipe. I’m on a ridiculous low carb diet and that’s perfect. Maybe I’ll feel a little better after I eat this. :)

  14. 14

    Darlene — July 12, 2011 @ 4:49 pm

    What a beautiful weekend filled with great food all involving avocados. It was a pleasure to meet you!

  15. 15

    Alma Tindall — January 4, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

    Where is this Rancho Santo Thomas?

    • The Ravenous Couple replied: — January 4th, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

      it’s a private farm. but if you go on the california avocado commission, they have links to meet the farmers

  16. 16

    Thuy — June 11, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    Im Vietnamese too and its so hard to find good viet recipes in English, so thank you for sharing! Btw what camera are you using? I love how your pics are so crisp and clear

  17. 17

    Healthy Lunch Club - Room & Board: The Blog — June 18, 2014 @ 8:18 am

    […] turkey burgers to chicken salad-stuffed avocados to cauliflower couscous, there’s always something new to try. “People sharing recipes is the […]

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