Summer marks the peak season of California avocados, when the fruit is readily available and at its most delicious. So what better time than now to learn more about two of the nearly 5,000 California avocado farmers who take pride in growing the delicious fruit and their favorite avocado recipes.
Ninety percent of the nation’s avocados are hand-grown by farmers in California, all of whom take special care in growing premium avocados. Many of the California avocado groves are multi-generational and family operated.
For example, California avocado grower Mary Bergen’s parents bought a ranch in Ojai, Calif. in 1957 – Rancho dos Rios. As a young child, she spent her time roaming the avocado groves and disappearing into the hills, which she says allowed her to gain an appreciation and love for the land. Mary took over the operations of the ranch in 2000 and with the help of other avocado growers, she has become knowledgeable and found a community. “I’m more connected with the community here than I ever was in the city,” says Mary. “It’s wonderful to grow something people love. It’s great to grow something outstanding.”
To view videos of Mary Bergen discussing her life as a California avocado grower, visit her page at the California Avocado Commission Website.
Here is her recipe for Shrimp, Endive and California Avocado Salad.
Mary Bergen’s Shrimp, Endive and California Avocado Salad
Recipe created by California avocado grower Mary Bergen for the California Avocado Commission.
Prep Time: 45 minutes, including chill time; Cooking Time: 5 minutes;
2 cups water
1 cup dry white wine
2 tsp. coarse salt
1 dried bay leaf
1 lb. medium shrimp, peeled
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp. crème fraîche
2 Tbsp. finely chopped shallot
2 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
2 small Belgian endives
1 ripe, fresh California avocado, peeled, seeded and diced
1 small head butter lettuce
1. Bring water, wine, half the salt and the bay leaf to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Add half the shrimp and cook until opaque, about 1 minute. Transfer the shrimp to a plate with a slotted spoon. Cook the remaining shrimp, transfer to the plate and let cool. Cut into 1/4-inch pieces.
2. Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar and remaining salt in a medium bowl. Pour in olive oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Whisk in crème fraîche. Fold in shallots, chives and shrimp. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Separate endive leaves and thinly slice crosswise. Fold endive and avocado into shrimp mixture. Make a bed of lettuce on each salad plate and add a generous spoonful of the shrimp mixture to each plate and serve.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 480; Total Fat 30 g (Sat 4.5 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 3 g, Mono 15 g); Cholesterol 225 mg; Sodium 1520 mg; Total Carbohydrates 17 g; Dietary Fiber 12 g; Protein 29 g