Six things you need to know about fresh California avocados

From the California Avocado Commission.

The Fresh California Avocado has evolved from an ethnic ingredient to produce superstar. Over the past two decades, Fresh California Avocados have increased steadily in awareness, volume, availability and popularity. Today, they appear in-season on menus in every foodservice segment, as foodservice operators capitalize on their menu versatility and customer appeal in salsas and condiments, salads and sides, entrees and pizzas, desserts and beverages.

 

1. The California Fruit with an American Heritage

California Avocados are grown year-round, with peak season running from April through September. A single California Hass Avocado tree can produce up to 200 pounds (approximately 500 pieces) of fruit each year, but averages around 60 pounds (150 pieces) per season. Today, California is the leading domestic producer of avocados with 5,000 growers producing about 90% of the nation's crop on 52,000 acres in the southern portion of the state. San Diego County produces 60% of all California Avocados, and is the acknowledged avocado capital of the U.S.

The Hass variety, popular worldwide, originated in the small Southern California suburb of La Habra. The Mother Hass Tree (1926 – 2002) was tended for, and named after postman Rudolph Hass, who patented the variety in August of 1935. Today, over 95% of avocados sold in the United States are the Hass Variety, and all Hass Avocados grown around the world can trace their roots to this special tree.

 

2. Fresh California Avocados—The Quality Difference
For California growers, the Hass Avocado tree delivers generous yields of a sturdy fruit that maintains its quality as it moves from tree to customer. With careful nurturing and proper handling, it consistently ripens to creamy perfection. For foodservice operators, the Fresh California Avocado delivers a natural, wholesome and versatile ingredient that enhances dishes from breakfast through dessert, adding value and appeal.

 

3. Distinguishing Characteristics and Features:
Oval-shaped; small-to-medium seed; easy to peel; pleasing, nutty taste
 

Size: Ranges from average (5 ounces) to large (12 ounces)

Appearance: Pebbly, thick but pliable skin; pale green flesh, creamy texture

Test for ripeness: Darker skin; fruit yields to gentle pressure

Shelf life: Excellent

Preconditioning: Order according to stage of ripeness; allows usage flexibility

Firm Fruit is firm to the touch. Ripen at room temperature 5-7 days
Breaking Fruit is beginning to soften. Ripen at room temperature 2-5 days
Ripe Fruit yields to gentle pressure and is ready to use. Refrigerate ripe fruit up to 7 days

 

4. Fresh California Avocados Fit the Wellness Trends

  • The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recommends that Americans increase their fruit and vegetable intake. Avocados are a fruit containing nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
  • One serving—one-fifth of a medium avocado (1 ounce)—offers flavor and satisfaction for only 50 calories.
  • Avocados are sodium and cholesterol-free, and provide “good” fats, 0.5g Poly and 3g Mono per 1 oz. serving.
  • One-half of the Fresh Avocado’s fat content comes from monounsaturated fats.
  • Avocados have a favorable unsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio of 3.5 grams to 0.5 grams, making them a great substitute for foods rich in saturated fats.
  • Fresh Avocados act as a “nutrient booster,” enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha-and beta-carotene and lutein, from foods that are eaten with the fruit.

 

5. From Vegan to Virtuoso, Fresh California Avocados Make the Menu
Operators express their creativity with Fresh California Avocados in a variety of dishes.

Innovative new applications and signature versions of popular standards appear in every menu part:

  • On the beverage menu, Liquid Architecture’s Kim Haasarud’s Avo Maria offers a Fresh California Avocado riff on a Bloody Mary
  • For appetizers, at the Cheese Board in Reno NV, owner Deborah Branby deconstructs a classic sandwich into a bite-size Bacon, Avocado and Tomato Club
  • Chef-Owner Jenny Ross at 118 Degrees, Newport Beach CA, builds a vegan Coconut-California Avocado Ceviche around satisfying cubes of Fresh California Avocados

Fresh California Avocados move the dial from ordinary to extraordinary sandwiches and salads.

  • At SliderBarCafé in Palo Alto, California, the popular California Chicken Slidera spicy chicken patty with sliced Fresh California Avocado, lettuce, tomatoes and zesty chipotle sauce—sets the standard for fresh, fun fare
  • John Bentley’s in Redwood City, CA serves Fresh California Avocado in a colorful Dungeness Crab, Watermelon and California Avocado Salad
  • Fresh California Avocados are promoted in Which Wich’s Buffalo Chicken Avocado Sandwiches and the California Greek Salad at Daphne’s California Greek
  • Sodexo business locations capitalize on the popular combination of avocado and seafood with their Shrimp Louie Salad

6. Fresh California Avocado Information Central

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 Fresh California Avocados, visit CaliforniaAvocado.com/Foodservice, become a fan at Facebook.com/CaliforniaAvocados and follow the California Avocado Commission on Twitter at Twitter.com/CA_Avocados.

CaliforniaAvocado.com/Foodservice serves as the go-to resource for product information, marketing opportunities and usage ideas for foodservice customers. Find out how to optimize Fresh California Avocados during peak season utilizing the recipe database, nutrition, selection, storage and handling information. Use the POS order form to request California Avocado Commission recipe collections, or call 800-370-3782.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
reusable coffee cup thermos

We were inspired by a book titled “Influence” to start a sustainable cup program called My Cup. All 15,000 new students receive a reusable cup with their name on it, which they can use at the dining halls. Personalizing helps them invest in the program and actually use it.

Menu Development
quinoa bowl

In a time of growing health consciousness, it might not be enough anymore for food to be merely filling. According to Technomic’s 2016 Healthy Eating Consumer Trend Report , diners are looking for food with a function, such as those with high protein content, immunity-boosting properties, antioxidants, probiotics and more. The data suggests 63% of consumers see these foods as healthier than those without any specific nutritional function—and would be more likely to buy them.

But are those stated preferences translating on an operational level? There, the answer is less clear. Baby...

Ideas and Innovation
phone bed call sick

We make people call and directly talk to their boss or supervisor if they are reporting an absence for a shift. While it is more cumbersome, it is a conscious decision. We have adapted and implemented electronic methods to obtain efficiencies in just about every other functional area, except for electronic absence reporting systems. The direct supervisor can put more pressure on an employee to show up—especially those with some form of the “Super Bowl plague”—than any electronic system can.

Menu Development
ranch dressing chicken fingers

While salad bars are often the first place K-12 operators look to incorporate more fresh produce, few go as far as making their own salad dressings. But last fall, in a continuing effort to transition from prepackaged meals to an all-scratch menu, Mark Augustine, executive chef of culinary and nutrition services for Minneapolis Public Schools, switched to concocting four varieties in-house—ranch, Caesar, Italian and Asian vinaigrette. The move, designed to eliminate artificial ingredients and lower fat and sodium, presented the biggest challenge when it came to ranch dressing, the school-...

FSD Resources