I am sure many of you have noticed by now that I LOVE guacamole. More than chocolate, more than sex, and even more than a hot bath and a good book. It's funny...Until I was pregnant with my youngest, I would never even try avocados. Yes, I am a picky eater and have been since I was a child. If something looks or smells funny in the slightest, it is not passing my lips. But last summer at a party at my Father-In-Law's house, there was this beautiful bowl of fresh, home made guacamole. And it was beckoning me to taste it. I was pregnant and ravenous, so I decided to throw my inhibitions out the window and just try it. After all, the man who prepared this dish looked oddly like Alton Brown of Food Network fame, so it couldn't be THAT bad, right? Well, I took a tortilla chip, dipped it in the guacamole, and I was immediately in love! The creaminess of the avocados, the tartness of the lime, the fresh cilantro, the smoky blend of seasonings...Lo and behold, a guacamole lover was born. And I have never looked back!
Guacamole is one of my all-time favorite foods. Even if it DID take me until the age of 29 to try it! Since my introduction to the awesomeness of avocados, I have used them often in many of my dishes. Even in ice cream! And I think I have basically perfected the dish that started my love affair: Guacamole. Yes, my guac is THAT good. I spent hours tweaking my recipe to absolute deliciousness, and it is something I make often in my home.
So when I got the opportunity to sample California Haas Avocados from Paradise Grove, I was very excited. I had a few recipes I wanted to experiment with, like avocado ice cream and homemade baby food, and I wanted to make a batch of my now famous guacamole with these California grown avocados. You see, not all avocados are created equal. Not by a long shot! I actually take the extra time to drive to a separate store for my avocados, since the ones at my regular grocery store are not up to par. So I will drive another 5 miles out of my way to get the good ones. Or what I thought were the good ones....Paradise Grove has blown them out of the water!
Why are avocados from Paradise Grove so special? Simple! The way they're grown and harvested, and the love that goes into this process! Here is more info about Paradise Grove, taken from their website:
"Our delicious California Hass Avocados are hand grown and hand picked. Blessed by the Pacific coastal climate, we nurture the finest Avocados for the American palate. Because we are a privately owned grove, we are able to harvest our fruit only when it reaches optimum size and quality.
Contrary to popular belief, all Avocados are harvested green. An Avocado left on the tree until it turns black will fall off the tree while still hard and then ripen on the ground. All harvested Avocados are cut with clippers by hand, leaving a stem nub. Any Avocado you see in the store without a stem has either fallen off the tree or been knocked off by accident. This amazing fruit retains its quality through shipment and shelf ripens to perfection after a short time.
We grow our avocados in Ventura, California, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean coastline.
Paradise Grove is located in a unique microclimate in the foothills between Santa Barbara and Ventura, California. Paradise Grove is one of the largest independent avocado ranches in California.
Our unique mountain location with a coastal influence allows us to maintain our crop on the trees for extended periods. With care, we are able to harvest Avocados nearly ten months out of the year.
Our water comes partially from wells tapping underground grottos hidden deep in the Sespe sandstone formations of the Santa Ynez Mountains and partially from Lake Casitas, one of the premier Bass fishing lakes in California.
Unlike Chilean and Mexican groves which often harvest when the fruit is still under-mature and watery, we wait until our fruit has fully matured and reached a size of 8 oz. You will rarely find Avocados of that magnitude in your local grocery store. Since the fruit that you purchase from our website ships directly from our trees to you, we are able to guarantee freshness. Don’t be surprised if your fruit is hard when you receive it. It may take up to seven days for it to ripen. Once ripe, we guarantee that our avocados will stay fresh and tasty up to seven days in your refrigerator.
We only grow Hass avocados which are full of anti-oxidants, rich in lutein (protects eyesight), beta-sitosterol (helps lower cholesterol), glutathione (may prevent throat and mouth cancers) and vitamin E (good for the heart). Avocados also have more potassium and magnesium (good for your brain) than bananas and, as for fat, the kind in avocados is healthy, mono-unsaturated fat - the good kind!"
When I received my box of avocados from Paradise Grove, the first thing I noticed was the size of the avocados. They were HUGE! Significantly larger than the Haas Avocados from Mexico that I usually purchase at the grocery store. I also noticed the rich, green color of the skin. These avocados just LOOKED healthier in appearance than some I had seen in the past. I did have to wait a few days for the avocados to reach their optimum ripeness, but once they were ready to use, I decided to make chicken quesadillas and some of my guacamole for dinner. (FYI: To tell if an avocado is ripe, feel your nose! Yes, really! If it is firm, yet gives a little to pressure, (like your nose) chances are it's ready. If the avocado feels like your forehead, it could stand to ripen another day.)
I found that my Paradise Grove Avocados were very easy to work with, too. They were easy to cut, and the pits were very easy to remove. I actually hold on to my avocado pits, since adding them to my bowl of freshly prepared guacamole actually helps prevent browning. The creamy avocado separated beautifully from the skin of the fruit, with very little extra scraping needed on my part. So far, so good!
So while impressed by the obvious quality of these avocados, I still had one thing left to test. Taste. I eagerly whipped up a batch of my guacamole, let it chill, and waited for dinner time to arrive. It was SO hard not to go snack out of the bowl. But guacamole is best if it's chilled for awhile, as it gives the flavors a chance to marry.
Once dinner was prepared, I could not wait to see how my guacamole came out! And let me tell you, it was fantastic! MUCH more flavor came through from my Paradise Grove Avocados than with the avocados I usually use. Texturally, they were superior as well.They had a beautiful creaminess to them, and were incredibly smooth. These avocados were definitely restaurant quality, and were very, very fresh.
The folks at Paradise Grove definitely are experts when it comes to cultivating the perfect avocado! I loved my experience with Paradise Grove so much, I don't think I'll ever be able to look at my grocer's avocados the same again! I have been spoiled by the absolute best now! So if you've never incorporated avocados into your meals, Paradise Grove is the perfect place to start. Once you try these awesome fruits, you will find tons of ways to try them. Whether it be as a dip, baby food, on sandwiches, a surprising addition to sweet desserts, or as a key component of a main dish, Paradise Grove Avocados are definitely the way to ensure the best and freshest dish possible! And they're cultivated right here in the US!
You can purchase Paradise Grove Avocados on their website.
You can also follow them on Facebookand ontwitter for some wonderful recipes and all of their newest promotions!
One very lucky follower will receive a box of 6 of the biggest, freshest avocados around from Paradise Grove! How cool is that?!
Please use this handy Rafflecopter form to enter. IMPORTANT: For the mandatory comment entry, please include a valid e-mail address IN THE BODY OF YOUR COMMENT! Feel free to use the following format to combat spam: yourname(at)yourprovider(dot)com. If you do not do this, I may not be able to view your e-mail address to contact you if you win!
This giveaway is open to US Residents 18+ and will be open until 12:01AM EST on 8/8/2011. Winner will be chosen at random and will be announced here, tweeted, shared on Facebook, and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to reply and claim their prize. If I receive no response, I will be forced to draw a new winner.
***Disclosure: I received a complimentary product to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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