From Mexico to Minnesota
By Jorrie Johnson

According to the 2018 AvoScore Card published by Hass Avocado Board, avocado unit sales increased by 25.4% from 2017 to 2018, with the Great Lakes Region leading with a 26.3% increase. While the quantities increased, prices decreased 14.1% in 2018, and the average price per avocado was $1.10 across the United States ($1.16 in the Great Lakes Region and $1.11 in the Plains Region).   

Hass avocados from Mexico are the most popular and readily available avocados in the U.S. today. They originated in the in 1920s in La Habra Heights, California, where Rudolph Hass began grafting newly planted avocado trees with mature Fuerte avocado trees to produce the bumpy, dark skinned avocados. In the 1950s, producers in Mexico started growing a version of the Hass grafted with some native varieties.  

Michaoacán and the state of México are the main avocado growing states in Mexico. Michaoacán, with its rich soil, sunshine and plenty of rain, is home to more than 30,000 avocado orchards. The trees bloom 365 days a year, and avocados are harvested year-round, depending on the elevation of the orchard. 

Luscious green, creamy, nutty-flavored avocados contain nearly 20 vitamins and minerals. They are cholesterol- and sodium-free, naturally good in fat, nutritious and a good source of fiber
and folate. 

The average avocado weighs 150 grams and contains 240 calories. One serving, one-third of an avocado, consists of 80 calories—high compared to other fruits, but worth it because the calories come from fat (75% good, monounsaturated fat). The good fat in avocados helps the body absorb vitamins A, D, K and E. Avocados are basically sugar free and are a low-carb fruit.

There are so many ways to eat avocados, and they are so easy to prepare. Eat them in guacamole, on salads with other fruits or vegetables, in soups, in smoothies and even in desserts. The next time you think about using butter or mayonnaise on a sandwich, think about spreading some soft, creamy avocado instead. Or why not just eat one on its own for a snack?

Try this delicious Sunflower Guacamole recipe incorporating locally-grown My Sweet Greens, MN sunflower shoots. This nutty shoot adds flavor and protein to the dip. It’s suitable as a meal with tortilla chips and made complete with a Corona or margarita on a summer day.

Sunflower Guacamole
(My Sweet Greens MN recipe modified)
Smooth, nutty guacamole you can customize to your level of heat preference. Servings: 8

4 avocados
juice of 1 whole lime
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/3 cups (one package) My Sweet Greens sunflower shoots
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 tomato, chopped 
jalapeno peppers, chili peppers, ghost peppers as desired

1. Place avocado, lime juice and salt in bowl and mash into a chunky mixture.
2. Roughly chop sunflower shoots.
3. Stir in sunflower shoots, red onion and salsa.
4. Enjoy with chips, fresh vegetables or on a sandwich or wrap. Use immediately. If storing, keep tightly wrapped or covered in the refrigerator.

Each serving contains: 191 calories; 15 g total fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fat); 157 mg sodium; 15 g total carbohydrates (1 g sugars; 7 g fiber); 4 g protein.

Original recipe source: www.alive.com/recipe/sunflower-guacamole/

Jorrie Johnson is publisher and editor of Rochester Women magazine.