Turn them into AvoKiddos!

When we bought our grove, Jack was about 6 months old. Naturally, we started feeding him avocados from our trees immediately and he has had a love affair with them ever since. He has turned into The AvoKiddo! Check out the short video starring The AvoKiddo.

It’s a new year, so if one of your goals is to help your family eat healthier, start with some avocados. In the spirit of New Year top lists, here are 5 great ways to add a little avocado to your kids’ meals. You can turn them into AvoKiddos without them even knowing it!

  1. Start them young. While Jack loves avos, my other two boys are reluctant to even try them, you know, because of that dreadful color green. I failed to get them hooked while they were young. Infants love mashed avocados and they are the best first fruit to introduce. To top it off, they are packed with folate, fiber, potassium, and vitamin E – all much needed essentials for your growing baby. This is also the first step to loving guacamole. I set out fresh made guacamole and some tortilla chips one day, walked away for a few minutes, and returned to find Jack using a chip to scoop out the guacamole, lick it off, and re-dip the same chip for more! Just add a little lime, cilantro, salt, and mild spices. Give them chips and let them make a mess dipping away.
  2. Mix it up with fruit and nuts. My kids still won’t eat salad, but a bowl of sliced avocados with some pomegranate seeds, tangerine slices, and toasted chopped pecans will get gobbled up. It’s fun picking out the little pomegranates and nuts, too. Add a little diced chicken and cheese cubes for some more protein.
  3. Hide it in a sandwich. Instead of mayonnaise, which my kids hate anyway, try adding a few slices of avocado lightly salted along with some grilled chicken breast on your kid’s favorite bread. Another winner is bacon and avocado on toast.
  4. Blend it up into a smoothie. Using a blender, mix 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1/2 cup of your kid’s favorite yoghurt (Brown Cow is awesome), 1 cup vanilla almond milk, and 1 to 2 cups of ice. Alternatively, skip the ice, and make sure the banana is frozen. Yummy and healthy with breakfast or a snack.
  5. If all else fails, try ketchup! Jack seems to like it. 🙂

Learn more about the awesome benefits of avocados at the California Avocado Commission website.

Feeding the Trees

Many people living in California may have an avocado tree in their yard or know someone who does. So when I have mentioned to friends and acquaintances that we have an avocado grove, their eyes light up with curiosity. They often ask how to improve their growth and production. As I understand, sometimes backyard avo trees are stubborn producers. I am no expert on avocado tree management. We have our grove manager, Gary, who is a living encyclopedia on the subject, to help advise us about how to increase production and we generally just nod and tell him to go ahead. But I can report to you all the stuff that Gary does and maybe some things might help your backyard tree.

I’ve talked about water (important for all trees) and phosphorus injections (important for trees infected with root rot) in previous posts. All trees also need food. So Gary supplements with fertilizer twice a year, once in fall and once in spring. In early April, the following fertilizer was applied:

The fertilizer Gary uses.

The fertilizer Gary uses.

  • 8 pounds per tree with 11-7-14+18S+1Zn+Fe, that’s ratios of 11 nitrogen, 7 phosphorus, 14 potassium, 18 sulfur, 1 zinc, and iron.
  • 4 pounds per tree with sulfate of potash (0-0-50).

All fertilizers in our grove were hand broadcast, but some fertilizers can be injected into the irrigation systems.

At the same time, each stumped and mature tree was injected again with nutra-mix P+K phosphorus acid 0-28-25. This is the same as the injections done in the fall (see previous post). So these are done twice a year. Injections are made into alternate limbs and trunks from the previous injection spots in the fall. Recall from the previous post that we are using a “cool” phosphorus acid that requires more holes, but results in less burn. The method is to drill two 7/16″ holes angled 45 degrees down, inject 1 ounce per tree, then refill each hole for a total of 2 ounces per tree. Below are some pictures of new and old injections as examples.

We have 68, 5-month-old stumped Hass trees and 97 tall, mature Hass trees. The same amounts of fertilizer and phosphorus acid injections were applied whether the trees were stumped or fully grown. This is because the root systems on the stumped trees are still as large as if they were full size trees.

These are management practices done for mature trees. We are in the process of planting new trees (in the next week!) to replace the ones we recently removed in the fall. The fertilizer regimen will be much different for those trees. Stay tuned for reports on that. In the meantime, spring was glorious when we recently visited the farm in early May. Enjoy the photo gallery of the splendor below.

Fallbrook Avocado Festival

A couple weeks ago we attended the Fallbrook Avocado Festival. I have to admit it was a bit of a letdown. I was all pumped up to see lots of local merchants, meet local farmers, and discover new and fun avocado-related products, but it required a lot of digging to find the gems amongst the sea of your typical swap meet, ticky-tack booths. That being said, when the gems were found, they sparkled. You could find everything from conventional live trees, fresh avocados, and avocado oils, to the avante garde items like avocado cigars, wind chimes, or bird nests! Below is a montage of photos from the fair involving anything we came across related to avocados.

This fair could really turn into something amazing and wonderful with just a little more effort in planning. I do hope that it improves in future years by getting rid of the non-local, trinket booths and focusing instead on the two most important reasons people want to attend the fair – Fallbrook and Avocados.