This just in: Dreams really do come true.
Aka that time I was invited to Uruapan, Mexico to explore the avocado capital of the world. Cue happy tears.
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with avocados. They’re a staple in my diet and skincare routine and have completely transformed me from my fat-fearing ways. I’m not one to pick favorites but if I had to choose my favorite company to work with it would definitely be Avocados from Mexico – Canada. The team there is incredible and together our mission is to get more Canadians to eat avocados. How could you not love them?
So when they invited me down to Michocan (the Mexican state in which Uruapan is located) to explore the avocado capital of the world, I was quick to say yes! Okay, more like squealed with excitement and may or may not have peed a little.
They also let me bring some friends along, Team Fit Foodie (aka Lee and Linley) for the ride. What we learned and experienced was truly once in a lifetime. So if you’ve ever wondered “where do avocados come from?”, I got you covered.
But first…watch us explore avocado farms, greenhouses, markets and packers and get the true Michocan experience here:
RANCHO MILPILLAS (Organic Avocado Farm)
Did you know that 50% of the world’s avocados are grown in Uruapan, Mexico? What we learned from our visit to was that the climate in Uruapan is actually incredibly conducive to avocado farming. There is plenty of sunshine, occasional rain, cooling off at night and such a variation in weather that makes it optimal for avocado growth.
Augustin, a 3rd generation avocado farmer taught us all about organic avocado farming, tree pruning and how he’s growing avocados in symbiosis with the environment and even the planets! The farm itself was beautiful and not surprisingly they enjoy quite a few avocado treats, including avocado jello!
Paracutin/San Juan Ruins
Uruapan is also close to the Paracutin volcano, which erupted in the 1940s and demolished the towns of Paracutin and San Juan. All that survived was parts of the church from San Juan. We climbed the volcanic ash and checked out the ruins.
Traditional Mexican Cooking Lesson
In the afternoon we visited a traditional Michocan chef, Beatriz who taught us local recipes including traditional guacamole (recipe coming soon!), avocado salsa, tomales and corundas. We finished off the lesson with a delicious Sopa Caldo full of veggies, local meat and topped with our corundas and of course, avocados! Mescal shots may have also been involved in the fun…
Amadeo Teytud Avocado Greenhouse
A visit to a greenhouse the following day was by far the most educational experience of the trip. We learned how to grow avocado trees that are then sold to farms to grow and produce fruit. What we learned was fascinating:
Did you know there are 3 different types of avocados? Criollo, Hass and Mendez. You will rarely find Criollo for sale as their taste is not optimal, but Hass and Mendez are the two most common varieties.
All Hass and Mendez plants actually have a bit of Criollo genetics in them. We learned how to graft the Hass or Mendez plant onto the Criollo plant to optimize the firmness of Criollo but the creaminess and taste from Hass or Mendez.
So if ever you’re in need of an avocado scientist, I am now trained…just sayin’.
We then visited the Uruapan Market to check out the local fruit and veggie variety and pick up some goodies for the road. Naturally there were avocados galore, but I will refrain from telling you how cheap they were cause you may cry yourself to sleep. If only I could have smuggled some home…
Empaque RV Avocado Packer
We ended our trip at an Avocado Packer where we wore super fashionable hairnets and saw one of the coolest sites I’ve ever seen. The amount of work, inspection and care that goes into getting that avocado from the farm to your table is incredible. Every single one of your avocados has been inspected carefully and has a planned route for where it will end up. They’ve mastered how to optimize freshness and preserve taste and quality while making the long trip from Uruapan to Canada.
Seeing how diligent they are makes me not feel so bad that I spend an excessive amount on avocados each week. Not only am I supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs, but it’s an industry that truly cares for its workers and the quality of their product. I wish all of you could see what I saw (hint: watch the video!)
I cannot thank Avocados from Mexico – Canada and APEAM enough for bringing us down to Uruapan and showing us what avocado farming is all about! Every single person we met was kind, gracious and welcoming. Thank you for your patience with my spanish (or lack there of) and for not laughing at us when every single avocado detail actual blew our minds.
Special shoutout to Montse for being the ultimate tour guide and Federico for being the best driver and all around karate master!
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Avocados from Mexico – Canada. They generously offered to bring us down to Uruapan so we could bring back all sorts of avocado info for you guys. I was not compensated for writing this post.
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AstridFebruary 17, 2017 at 7:30 am
I’m a first timer here and I’m loving your blog.
Travel, healthy eating, natural skincare and physical exercise and a dog – I’m like “yay! I’m in the right place!” Yes, I’m a little obsessed with all of the above!
I’m from South Africa and Avos are one of our biggest exports. I’m so lucky that my in-laws farm with Avos, Macadamia nuts and citrus like lemons. Mmmm, Avo and lemon one of my favorite combos!
It looks like you had a super Avo exploring experience and it’s great that you’re raising awareness for this delicious fruit. I’m always surprised at how many people don’t know what Avos are.
Next time you’re up for an “Avo Trip”, visit us on the farm!
I’ve subscribed to your emails so in no time I’ll be a Diva in the kitchen too. Win, Win!
Thanks for a great blog!
CherylJune 13, 2016 at 1:57 pm
Avocados have always been my favorite food. I am delighted to have them in abundance year round at my neighborhood grocery. However, I just watched “Cartel Land” an excellent documentary. The film says that our avocados and limes come from Michochan where the industry is controlled by the violent drug cartels. During your trip was this addressed? You were funded to go on this trip as an avocado ambassador but was the drug connection something that you encountered? Thank you for your reply.
Davida KugelmassJune 13, 2016 at 4:08 pm
Hi Cheryl. No, not at all! It was acknowledged that a few years ago there was quite a bit of violence as violent/non-michocan outsiders tried to control the industry but thankfully these issues have mostly passed.The industry is not at all controlled by the drug cartel and in fact the whole team was incredibly kind, gracious and humble natives to Michocan, many of whom are 3rd generation farmers and growers. I never felt unsafe or suspicious and definitely would not be working with them if they had any ties to the cartel. Much of what we see in the media can be blown out of proportion and not fully understood until you’re down there with the farmers and packers. Hope this clears things up!
Ernesto casasApril 26, 2016 at 1:32 pm
I enjoyed your post so much, I m from uruapan, and I m current student in boston MA. I would love to know more about your experience and the people you met there, and I m also very interested in the organic product.
Davida KugelmassApril 26, 2016 at 6:29 pm
Hi Ernesto! You are from such a beautiful region! The people were incredibly friendly and kind and everyone was welcoming. We visited an organic avocado farm, which was spectacular and 3rd generation family fun. Happy to answer any questions you may have, though I suspect you know a lot more about Uruapan than I do 😉
JACMarch 16, 2016 at 8:12 pm
Silly question, avocados come from Trader Joe!! ☺
AnneliseMarch 8, 2016 at 1:58 pm
Oh wow… the colors from the market were exquisite! What an amazing and fulfilling trip. I loved your video!!
Davida KugelmassMarch 13, 2016 at 1:05 pm
Thank you, lovely!
Beverley ChengMarch 7, 2016 at 11:52 am
DAVIDA YOU’RE THE COOLEST PERSON EVER.
I am insanelyyyy jealous of this trip, what an incredible experience!!
The colors of all the fruit in that market are to die for, and that crazy artichoke with the purple coming out of it is too funny. Loving the video recap
Davida KugelmassMarch 13, 2016 at 1:06 pm
Thanks lady!!! Why don’t we have markets like this in Toronto?! Cannot wait for summer here gah!!! Date once I’m home from Arizona? YES PLEASE. P.S. New site looks amaaaaazeballs!
Stella @ Stellicious LifeMarch 7, 2016 at 8:03 am
Yay!! I was so much looking forward to your Mexican trip recap post (and hoping you’d share your experience about the avocado plantations)! I’m sure you had a terrific time and visiting the avocado green house, plantation and packer must have been so interesting!
I love avocados and have been moaning how much I miss them, because these past few weeks there aren’t many on the market stands/shops and the ones that are, are so small (and expensive). I hope avocados will resurface soon, I miss them!
So a few questions: how long does it take for an avocado to grow and ripen before it can be eaten? And how many avocados does a tree produce?
Also, did you learn any new recipes featuring avocados? Any other way they can be eaten savoury or cooked besides being added on top of soups/bowls?
Stella @ Stellicious LifeMarch 7, 2016 at 8:05 am
ps. Those ruins look wonderful! And don’t you just love how colourful mexico is? The markets, the scarves/materials, the houses, the bowls. Loved seeing all that colour everywhere 🙂 Can’t wait to read more about your trip there and what you saw.
Davida KugelmassMarch 13, 2016 at 1:10 pm
It can take around 2 weeks for an avocado to ripen from when it’s first picked! This leaves plenty of time for it to make it from the farms to your kitchen 🙂 As for how many avos per tree, that totally depends on the tree and the weather. Some can have hundreds and others just a few!
I have plenty of new avo recipes coming your way!! Stay tuned 🙂
CassieMarch 6, 2016 at 5:30 pm
What a gorgeous church! I am also OBSESSED with avocados, so this video and post were so much fun to watch/read!
Davida KugelmassMarch 13, 2016 at 1:11 pm
Glad I’m not alone in my avocado obsession 🙂
Helen @ Healthy Bits and BitesMarch 6, 2016 at 10:42 am
What a wonderful post and video! I enjoyed it so much! We only recently started eating avocados and I admit I really love them. Thankfully, here in Greece, we can now find locally-grown avocados from the island of Crete because the ones that flew all the way from Mexico were really expensive!
I tried FitFoodie’s recipe for guacamole (amazing!) and I’m looking forward to yours.
Davida KugelmassMarch 13, 2016 at 1:11 pm
Yay! Lee’s recipes are always amazing 🙂 Glad you’re able to get some local avocados too! If only they grew them in Canada!
ShawnApril 10, 2016 at 10:38 pm
Thank you for this article. I eat an avocado every day and also thank Mexico every day for this opportunity!!!