When most people go through a mid-life crisis, they go skydiving, buy an expensive car, maybe have an affair, or typically do something similarly stupid. Well, my husband, Aaron, and I went off the deep end.
We bought an avocado farm.
You may say, “Hey, that’s not that crazy.” But wait. He’s an engineer. I’m an environmental consultant. We have three kids all 5 and under. We still have a hefty mortgage and a car loan. He works full-time while I work part-time. When we first put an offer on the property, we knew absolutely NOTHING about avocados, except that they’re pretty tasty. So I’d say we are wildly insane.
To top it off, buying an avocado grove was completely unintentional. When Aaron and I first moved in together in the San Francisco Bay Area, we had lofty notions of one day owning a vineyard. We even took viticulture classes and worked through the numbers, but ultimately determined you’d have to be a millionaire to even start a vineyard. And then, jobs and life brought us down to the San Diego Area, so we figured that was the nail in the coffin on that idea. But then we explored the De Luz Hills area between Fallbrook and Temecula, where we discovered a haven of green surrounded in a sea of rock, scrub, and desert. On a whim, we decided to check out land prices. A few weeks later we were making an offer on a 5.25 acre property consisting of a little more than 400 Hass avocado trees approximately 30 years old.
In part, our madness stemmed from the desire to have space for our boys to run around and explore nature in a world that is increasingly urbanized, landscaped, structured, and over-planned. (Case in point, they don’t let you walk off the trail in the park across the street from our house because the area is considered “habitat” even though it was a former gravel mining operation and currently has a man-made dam holding a small pond teeming with invasive species.) My husband grew up in rural Hawaii. I grew up in suburban Illinois, but spent most of my childhood an a farm in Michigan. We wanted our children to have similar experiences to our own fond memories of running barefoot in the wild, but also wanted someplace that would provide long-term use and enjoyment for the family.
This blog will document our adventure in accidental avocado farming and whatever may sprout from our venture. Currently, I intend to write articles about farming techniques and debates, the various health-related uses and benefits of avocados, recipes involving avocados, and various crafts related to avocados. I lucked out that my sister, Theresa Gilliam, happens to be a food stylist and photographer and works with many professional photographers. So all of the food photos on the blog will be shot professionally, and all food is styled by Theresa. The recipes will be posted here and on my jux site so you can enjoy the beautiful pictures without distraction.
About Theresa Gilliam
Theresa lives in Seattle where she began as a Sous Chef. Currently, she is a food stylist and photo assistant. She has styled food for numerous companies including Starbucks, Tazo and Costco. She is the food stylist and co-author of a recently published cookbook, Bacon 24 Seven, which is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
About Julie Ogilvie
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago where I developed an appreciation for dirt while mucking around in the garden with my mom and running wild on a farm we had in Michigan. After graduating high school, I moved to Los Angeles for college where I met my future husband, Aaron, whose laid-back-Hawaii-boy-attitude turned out to be a perfect Yin for my particularly bi-polar-like crazy Yang. No, I didn’t mix that up. He definitely has Yin characteristics while I have the Yang ones.
After bouncing around from web development, to policy, to law school, and an ever so brief period of practicing law, I seemed to have settled on environmental consulting. I work for AECOM as a project manager for various projects involving permitting and compliance with environmental regulations, mostly biological resources and waters. You can learn more about my professional career on LinkedIn.
When we find spare time (which is not very often these days), Aaron and I are doing the parenting dance (not very gracefully at times) with our three boundless energy boys, Evan, Aiden, and Jackson. For some reason, we thought we could fit in owning an avocado farm on top of work and kids. Not sure what we were thinking at times.
I also enjoy gardening, cooking, writing, going to the beach, being outside, watching all sorts of cable tv shows (once they are released to DVD so I can obsessively watch the whole season at once!), and crochet. We are blessed with living in San Diego where the weather allows me to have a year-round herb garden and we can go to the beach in January. Apparently, I have issues sleeping. I admit, I wish I did not have to sleep and my body would just keep up with my brain. Aaron, on the other hand, loves sleep more than anything else (except for me and the kids, I hope).
I look forward to many lovely, adventurous and sunny days with my family on our farm.
~Aaron and Julie Ogilvie