Welcome to San Diego County, California, land of avocados! This county grows approximately sixty percent of all of the avocados in California and California grows ninety percent of the nation’s avocado crop! Over fifteen years ago a close family member moved to rural Fallbrook in North San Diego County. This cute town sits adjacent to Marine Corp Base Camp Pendleton and is a quick eighteen mile scenic jaunt to Oceanside. Fallbrook boasts many acres of avocado groves and is home to the Fallbrook Avocado Festival, which occurs annually in April where some 70,000 avocado enthusiasts attend and celebrate the fruit. Yes, you read that right, avocados are a fruit!
Touted as a “Superfood”, avocados are gluten free and cholesterol free, containing more potassium than bananas! They are high in protein but this protein can be more easily absorbed by the body than red meat. Okay, they do contain fat. However it’s the “good” kind which helps to lower LDL, the “bad” cholesterol. If those weren’t reasons enough to eat them, note that they are also said to be an aphrodisiac!
Unfortunately, eating them is not really an option for those of us who have a latex food allergy. It is said that cooking avocados lowers the enzyme that we are allergic to, but I haven’t gotten up the nerve to try it yet for fear of a reaction. The good news is that avocados have so many other wonderful uses that everyone can enjoy them regardless of allergies. Have a sunburn and no aloe vera? Grab an avocado and smooth some of the inside over your burn. Looking to give your dull hair new shine? Whip up a mixture of one medium avocado and two tablespoons of honey. Massage into hair and leave on for 20-30 minutes and then rinse. In need of an inexpensive facial treatment? Just mix one-half of an avocado, two tablespoons of honey, one tablespoon sugar and a dash of lemon juice if you have oily skin. Leave on your face for 15 minutes then rinse and pat dry. It’s nearly as good as a day at the day spa!
On a humorous note, the word “avocado” was derived from the Nahuatl word, Ahuacati, which literally means “testicles”. The unlikely fruit is nicknamed, Alligator Pear, because of its green bumpy skin. While most think of slicing it for use on salads or sandwiches or using it to prepare the ubiquitous guacamole, Brazilians love to pair it with ice cream. Be sure to search for unique items such as avocado ice cream, avocado pie and my favorite gift to give, avocado fudge (photo on right: see happy avocado fudge taste tester). See you at the Fallbrook Avocado Festival on April 13th, 2014! http://www.fallbrookchamberofcommerce.org/events-v2/avocado-festival.html
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