2008-08-01 / On The Town

Explore the versatility of avocados on your taste buds

By Patrick Mooney Special to the Acorn

Recently at the Thousand Oaks farmers market I talked to vendor Frank Wells, who was manning the Westfield Farms stand. Westfield Farms has been in operation since 1992, and Wells has been running the farm since 1996.

Westfield Farms specializes in avocados, growing more than 20 varieties including the Fuerte and the Pinkerton, but their mainstay is the Hass avocado. The Hass is popular with consumers because it's a fairly rich avocado, it's available most of the year and it has a consistent flavor. You can tell when it is ripe because the skin changes color.

Growers like the Hass because it has a rather thick skin, so it transports well from the farm to the market and from the market to the home.

Wells told me that Westfield Farms practices earth-friendly, natural farming, and they hope to get their organic certificate this year.

I asked him how he liked to eat his avocados, and he said that he loved to eat them on top of O'Brien potatoes or even on toast with honey. Wells' recipe for guacamole is simply avocados, diced onion, lime juice and a dash of Tabasco.

My favorite guacamole recipe is this one:

Guacamole

5 ripe Hass avocados ½ small onion, finely diced 1 large jalapeño pepper with seeds and ribs removed, diced 1 tablespoon minced garlic ¼ bunch cilantro, chopped 1 tablespoon lime juice Salt and pepper to taste

Cut each avocado open and remove the seed.

Scoop the avocado flesh out with a spoon and place in a large bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients and mash until it reaches the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper.

This recipe for avocado dressing is a refreshing change from storebought salad dressing:

Avocado Dressing

6 ripe Hass avocados 3 cups mayonnaise 2 cups sour cream ½ cup chives, chopped fine 2 tablespoons Tabasco sauce 4 ounces lime juice 2 tablespoon salt 1 tablespoon pepper Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, beat the dressing until smooth.

Avocados can be ripened on the kitchen counter until soft to the touch. Once they are ripe, keep them in the refrigerator to prevent them from becoming overripe.

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