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Friday, April 24, 2009

An Arbor Day Alligator..Oh MY!

Gotcha! I figured by now everyone was all pooped out from Earth Day so another day of reckoning may seem to be just another day. Nope, today is Arbor Day in many states in the USA and I have something to share. Whoa, hold on to your tail a minute. First, I want to see who is trying to squiggle out of planting a tree today. After all, that's what Arbor Day is isn't it? Tree Planting Day. "Why bother" you might ask. We just celebrated Earth Day. Do we really need to spend the entire month of April digging up more environmental issues? Okay, let me put it to you this way. You know how calendar makers go around changing people's birthdays? I mean really, one of these days, if not already, it will totally slip our minds that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were not both born on the same day in February. How about Martin Luther King Jr.? Does anybody really know the day he was born? Well, it seems such is the case with a man by the name of Julius Sterling Morton. We celebrate Arbor Day in remembrance of Mr. Morton who just so happened to be born on April 22, 1832. Some where along the line, the national celebration of planting trees ripened to the last Friday in April which, dear visitors, happens to be today. I did consider planting a tree on April 22nd but, like so many others, I just got so caught up in Earth Day, I plum forgot. I did, however, "plant" a tree today. Wait til you see it!!!

It is Arbor Day today in much of the USA. Nebraska journalist Sterling Morton advocated tree planting to keep soil in place, act as windbreaks and provide fuel and building materials. In 1872 he promoted a tree planing holiday; in 1874 it was proclaimed by the Governor of Nebraska and Morton's birthday, April 22, was selected as the day of observance. Now it is celebrated in most states on the last Friday in April. source
"The cultivation of trees is the cultivation of the good, the beautiful and the ennobling in man."
Julius Sterling Morton was born April 22, 1832, the same April day that would one day be honored officially as Arbor Day. His father was a village merchant in Adams, New York. In 1834 the family relocated near Detroit, Michigan. Sterling developed an interest in writing and publishing while working in his grandfather's newspaper office. His parents enrolled him at Wesleyan Seminary, where the 14 year old Morton met his future wife, Caroline Joy French, and discovered that they were both nature lovers at heart. Their story might have disappeared into history right there. They might easily have settled in Michigan, in a home surrounded by the trees and gardens they took for granted, except for one fateful move....visit his link:)

Meet the "Alligator Pear"

What's that you say, "The Alligator Pear" looks like a plain ol avocado? Well, that's because, not only do people go around changing birthdays, they also have a knack of playing with names. Don't try to butter me up, I know this from experience. Oh, by the way, our "friend" the alligator pear is also sometimes referred to as the "Butter Pear." Confused yet? There's more. It's also know as palta or aguacate in Spanish.

The Avocado fruit is an important food in South America and is nutritious with high levels of mainly unsaturated oils, minerals, vitamins and reasonable levels of protein. The oil is evidently similar in composition to olive oil. The name 'Avocado' originates from the Aztec name ahuacacuauhitl meaning testicle tree! The Spanish shortened it to aguacate and the English then turned it into Avocado. The Avocado was evidently viewed by Indians and Spanish colonisers alike as having aphrodisiac properties which made it popular among many...source

I have Kathy over @ Food Company Cookbooks to thank for "ferreting" out some of the information about the Kind Salad Avocado Company, as do you:) She also has an enclosed recipe you might like to smooth over. I'll just give you a taste from the introduction of the book:

Out of old Mexico, the crumbling Aztec Indian civilization of antiquity, this exotic fruit through modern scientific cultivation has been perfected to become one of the most healthful foods in the world...Learn to depend on King Salad Avocado to give your family, especially growing children, a good balance of most desireable vitamins, minerals, proteins, and vegetable oils. So easily digested and quickly assimilated is the soft avocado meat that can be fed to young babies or aged convalescents with complete confidence. Its abundance of rich food properties are rapidly absorbed into the body to give greater energy, strength and endurance.

Traveling along the Guacamole Highway may lead to a few bumps in the road. Avocados sometimes get a bad rap. It's true that avocados are high in fat which instantly signals Avocados = Cholesterol. Slow down. Not necessarily when it comes to your health. "The avocado is virtually the only fruit that has monounsaturated fat." so does the olive:)

A medium-sized avocado contains 30 grams of fat, as much as a quarter-pound burger. That's why diet experts have long urged Americans to go easy on avocados in favor of less fatty fruits and vegetables. But now nutritionists are taking another look. They're finding that most of the fat in an avocado is monounsaturated -- the "good" kind that actually lowers cholesterol levels. Thanks to this new understanding, the U.S. government recently revised its official nutrition guidelines to urge Americans to eat more avocados.

Guacamole is one answer to the question "How to eat avocado." However, the fruit can be used in a variety of ways. (it's considered a fruit because it has a seed:) You haven't enjoyed the true virtues of an avocado until you've smothered it on toast. Paula Deen adds a fried egg to her toasted Avocado Sandwich. One of my favorite ways to serve avocados is as an edible bowl. I prefer shrimp salad in mine but you can fill that perfect crevice with any kind of salad or a chilled soup. Here's a quick recipe for Chicken Avocado Boats.

Avocado season begins in the Spring and pretty much lasts until August. The market outlook for the California avocado crop isn't look to healthy at this point. However, the California Avocado Commission has encouraging news about the “Hand Grown in California” fruit sales campaign which was a huge success. All the more reason to by local:) I've left a few avocado recipes for you below. It's high time I show you the "tree" I "planted" for Arbor Day.

The 2008 California avocado harvesting season has come and gone. Returns to the growers were up along with the cost of fertilizer, water, labor, transportation, grower assessment from CAC and much more. Mexico came to the 2008 party like a poor dinner date by arriving early and hanging around very late. Not a Cotillion graduate. Retail had many weeks during the late spring and summer months with hot buys and witnessed strong weeks with sales over 20 million pounds across the entire country. Chile was hit with an early season freeze which at the time was very positive for California growers. But as the season progressed the crop on tree fruit estimate kept dropping. When it was all said and done, CAC was forced to lower its original estimate by over 15 percent.  For the first time ever growers were looking right into the sights of a double barreled shotgun. Coming off a major freeze, sky rocketing production costs and fruit two sizes smaller than normal. In horse racing they call this hitting the black trifecta...source

My Arbor Day Tree

Not only is it easy to Grow Your Own Avocado Tree, it's inexpensive and, you don't have to live in a huge house to grow one. Are you still laughing at my picture? I know you are. Okay, so it doesn't look like much yet but, I'm telling you, it will grow. You wait and see. Oh, don't mind that lemon floating around in the glass. I learned to grown an avocado tree eons ago and I was told to always include a piece of lemon in the water. I'll eventually take it out. For some reason, I'm thinking its one of those folk tales. I've successfully kept avocados from turning brown by a squeezing of a lemon and quite frankly, the lemon has never stunted the growth of my avocado tree growing either. So, why don't I have this huge tree to show you instead of my "new" seedling? Well, I've moved around lately and although avocado trees are hardy survivors in the house, certain varieties will are also survive freezing temps, (Mexicola and Bacon) I thought it best to give my last "tree" away. Here's what it will look like when it grows, courtesy of wiki.

Have a GREAT weekend everyone, the other day I suggested you go play outside, today I suggest you don't throw that peel or pit away. Plant IT! I mean really, how frugal can you get?

FYI: The people of Antigua are known as Panzas Verdes, green bellies. They have gotten this non-offensive nickname for the great amounts of avocados they ate in the past.

Resouces
1. What is Arbor Day?
2. Avocado Nutrition Information
3. All About Avocados
4. Avocado Season
5. Avocado Mayonnaise
6. Avocado Lime Cupcakes
7. Intriguing Avocado "Recipe"
8. Black Bean Cakes with Fried Eggs & Avocado Crema
9. Avocado Smoothie
10. California Sushi Rolls
11. Interstate 15/Escondido Freeway (Avocado Highway)

10 comments:

  1. Arbor Day is different in the Nation's Capital.
    Quick: what's the official tree of DC?
    WRONG!

    See

    http://notionscapital.wordpress.com/2009/04/24/arbor-day-in-dc/

    Plant a tree. Support local beavers.

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  2. Actually, I was right Mike. I knew it was the Yoshino cherry. However, I didn't know about their effect on a beaver's life. I think beavers are amazing!

    I appreciate you dropping off the link. Quite interesting. I've also bookmarked the Cool Mom's Who Care site. Thanks!

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  3. Interesting as always! I had no idea avocados had other names. Growing an avocado is something that my husband would try to do. So far we've got a banana plant, a pineapple plant, and watermelon. Keep in mind that we are in the Midwest - not a tropical climate.

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  4. What a very cool blog. And thanks for sharing my pseudo-recipe for avocados! I haven't been able to get my hands on really good avocados since leaving California for the east coast, 'tis so sad.

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  5. I want to grow a tree in my almost windowless condo. I do have a deck though.

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  6. Hi Stef,
    I was thinking I would start a pineapple plant with my grandkids when I visit them in a couple of weeks. You are the perfect candidate for an avocado tree. Give it a try!!!

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  7. Hi Laura,
    Thanks for visiting and letting me "borrow" your link. California avocados are indeed the BEST!!!

    They only need a little window sill to start Courtney. Then you can grown it on the deck and bring it in when it chills up. Avocado trees make lovely houseplants.

    You are too funny duckie:)

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  8. My county is a huge avocado growing area but they are expensive even here. Twice I have killed a nicely started avocado tree by following the advice to cut it down to 6" when it is about 12" tall. Never again. I love, love, love avocado on toast. Just thinking about it makes me want to go buy one.

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  9. I've made that same mistake Rochelle, current advice has since done away with that old adage. I always give mine away. I plan on keeping this one although, nothing has sprouted yet:( I too love avocado on toast. Ever since you mentioned it, I have such a craving. I may just go buy one this weekend! Thanks for stopping by...

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Through this wide opened gate,
none came too early,
none returned too late.

Thanks for dropping in...Louise