Locally Grown Avocados for Cinco de Mayo!
by Raul Gallegos, Sr. Director of Produce
California avocado season is here and just in time for Cinco de Mayo!
California avocados are a great choice for Cinco de Mayo party recipes as they add delicious flavor, creamy texture, and lively color to any fiesta dish. In fact, the holiday is one of the largest avocado consumption days of the year; an estimated 70.5 million pounds of avocados will be consumed during this year’s celebrations – that’s 141 million individual avocados. California is the original “Avocado Capital,” with 90 percent of the nation’s avocado crop grown in the state by nearly 5,000 farmers who plant, tend, and harvest their trees by hand. Spring to fall marks the California avocado season, making this the perfect time to enjoy this delectable fruit.
Locally Grown Avocados
Rancho Vasquez is a local family owned and operated business dating back three generations. Originally, they harvested organic avocados to supply the Vasquez family restaurant. Since then, they have grown into a 123-acre organic avocado orchard in the foothills of Azusa, CA where the Vasquez family all reside together. Still committed to family, and the orchard, harvest time is an event in the Vasquez household where every family member is involved – big and small. Depending on the season they harvest Hass or Fuerte avocados by hand, and deliver them to local restaurants and markets throughout Los Angeles.
Art and Geri Vasquez are the proud owners of Rancho Vasquez. Art has been harvesting avocados since childhood. Art always had avocado trees in his yard and shared the passion of fruit growing with his children just as his father and grandfather had done with him. At one point or another, all five of Art and Geri’s children have shared in the growth of the ranch. Today on the ranch, harvest time is a family affair. Art and Geri can be caught in the ranch with one or all of their 7 grandchildren, sharing the family tradition of organic fruit growing practices.
Rancho Vasquez has been organic for years, even before the time came when it was necessary to be certified organic. Organic practices have been handed down from generation to generation in the Vasquez family. Some of the first avocados arriving in California were planted in the San Gabriel Valley and our micro-climate and rich soil are perfect for avocados. Rancho Vasquez is the only avocado orchard left in the San Gabriel Valley, nestled in the foothills of Azusa. The pride and hard work that goes into caring for each tree is immeasurable. Although official Organic Certification was in 2007, Rancho Vasquez trees have been cared for organically for decades.