We're two sisters who are craft book publishers and found ourselves in the midst of an avocado grove. We bought this house where we planned to conduct our publishing business and in the deal got 4 acres of avocado trees thrown in. Now we're not only publishers but ranchers as well! This blog is all about avocados and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Friday, April 30, 2010

What? We're Avocado Ranchers?

Can you imagine this? You have a book publishing business and you buy a house to conduct your business. You get all settled in, start photographing, writing and all the other things that go into producing a craft book and all of sudden you look out your window and see a forest of avocado trees. “You mean when we bought this house it came with 4 acres of avocados”, we asked our real estate agent. “Yes,” he said. “You are now ranchers as well as publishers”!!

So, along with the house and the grove, we also got a grove service. They’re the people who water, weed, fertilize and then pick the fruit. We thought, “Hey, this isn’t so bad. We don’t have to do a thing.” Well, we were a little wrong about this. We do have to watch the grove and make sure things are going well. Then we have to communicate with the grove service if we notice a geiser in the grove or a dead tree or too many avocados falling to the ground. Also, we have to pay all the bills. Then when the avocados are picked, we get a great big check, right? Well, this is not often the case. Especially lately.
Water prices are going up, there’s a salinity problem, Mexican and Chilean fruit is coming in, etc. etc. And then there’s the dreaded thrip. Well that’s another story.

We thought avocado fans might want to learn what goes into growing avocados, how to prepare different recipes using avocados, the health benefits, tips for ripening and storing, and any other gems of information that might be helpful.  Thus, this blog.

We’ll start with some recipes for a Cinco de Mayo bash. What a great time to start preparing and eating avocados. This is a recipe from the California Avocado Commission. If you use this recipe, promise us you’ll use California avocados in your dish (ask at your grocery store). Then plan a big party and invite your friends to the fiesta. Serve lots of beer and break a pinata. But remember to go home with a designated driver.

Chipotle Chicken and California Avocado Quesadillas
Serves: 8
Prep Time: 30 minutes; Cooking Time: 10 minutes; Total Time: 40 minutes
  • 1 ½ cups shredded, roasted chicken
  •  ¾ cup canned black beans, drained
  • 1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 3 Tbsp.minced, canned chipotle chiles
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups grated Mexican manchego cheese
  • 1 cup grated panela cheese
  • ½ cup grated cotija cheese
  • 4 10-inch flour tortillas
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 ½ ripe Fresh California Avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices

    Avocado Citrus Crema
  • 1 ripe Fresh California Avocado, seeded, peeled and quartered
  • ½ cup light sour cream
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ orange, juiced
  •  Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Combine chicken, black beans, onions, cilantro, chiles, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Let sit 20 minutes to blend flavors.  
  2. Mix cheeses together in a bowl.  
  3. Lay tortillas on a counter and brush with melted butter.  
  4. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place a tortilla, buttered side down, into the skillet and place a portion of cheese mixture over entire tortilla. Place a portion of chicken mixture over half of the tortilla, leaving the other half empty. Cover chicken mixture with a portion of avocado slices. 
  5. Cook until cheese begins to melt, about 3 to 4 minutes. Fold tortilla in half, over the avocado and chicken mixture. Continue cooking until tortilla is lightly golden on both sides and cheese begins to ooze. Repeat with remaining quesadillas. 
  6. Cut quesadillas into wedges and serve with Avocado Citrus Crema.
Avocado Citrus Crema
  1. Combine ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Nutrition information per serving

Calories 450; Total Fat 30 g (Sat 11 g, Trans
0 g, Poly 1.5 g, Mono 8 g); Cholesterol 60 mg; Sodium 1130 mg; Potassium
410 mg; Total Carbohydrates 23 g; Dietary Fiber 6 g; Total Sugars 3 g; Protein   2 g; Vitamin A 750 IU; Vitamin C 13 mg; Calcium 211 mg; Iron 2 mg; Vitamin D 1 IU; Folate 85 mcg; Omega 3 Fatty Acid 0.1 g

% Daily Value*: Vitamin A 15%; Vitamin C 20%; Calcium 20%; Iron 8%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 Calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Stay tuned for future posts about avocados, musings from the grove, or anything else that might be newsworthy or interesting.


  1. This sounds like a fun blog to return to on a regular basis. My little seed is sprouting nicely. I have another in a ladle of water to see if that wants to grow, too. I have learnt some about various varieties and which ones need 3' of dirt and which can grow in pots. WHich need a mate and which have their own internal mat.

    But still ready to learn more ...

  2. YUM! This recipe sounds delicious. I'll have to try it. Hope I can find California avos in New York!

  3. The only avocados I've ever grown were the ones where you put toothpicks in the seed and dangle it over/in a jar of water. Great green leaves, no fruit. Now, I've got tiny avocado trees that sprout up in my compost piles, but because we live on the colder northern Calif. coast, they don't flower either.
    I must say that you've taken on a rather daunting task while keeping up a positive attitude. I'm rooting for you!

    May 2, 2010 1:19 PM

  4. I adore avocados and these recipes sound absolutely delicious! I really like the name of your new blog ... Ladies of the Grove sounds so genteel and beckoning.

  5. YUM! What a fun Blog! I love it!

  6. Can I say YUM too? It was the first word that popped into my mind.

  7. Thank you so much for featuring my bangle in your blog. It fits so well with your theme.

    I am green(avocado of course)with envy of the avocado grove that came with your house. Your life sounds wonderful. Maybe if I can sell enough bangles, one day I can own a grove of something too.

    All the best... must be a busy time for you with the growing season upon you.

  8. Greetings Saunthra,
    Have gotten so many kind words about your bangles - hope you get lots of views and maybe a sale or two.

  9. And to Nana Jo,
    Thanks for your kind words. It was wonderful to get your comments on my very first post. Keep reading and let me know if you try any of the recipes.

  10. Hi Julie,
    Thanks for coming to my blog and being the very first to post a comment on my very first day. Hope you'll keep coming back and that I can post some helpful and interesting information as well as lots of great recipes.

  11. We have 21 acres (2 lots0 avocado groves in Temecula / De Luz. Now all we have to do is to build a house there on one of the grove.
    Love your blog ;0)
    Jieranai Maier