This weekend marks the 23rd Annual Carpinteria Avocado Festival. It’s a great event and takes place in Carpinteria, a sleepy little beach town just eight miles south of Santa Barbara. My Mom also lives in ‘Carp’ (hi Mom!)
Every year, more than 100,000 people attend the festival, enjoy live local music, sample various foods and just basically enjoy a beautiful fall weekend at the beach. Twist my arm. You can sample many versions of guacamole, mexican fare, tri tip sandwiches and more. There is even an avocado ice cream (pretty good as I remember), and fried avocados (sometimes fried is not better people.)
And no avocado gathering would be complete without the largest vat of guacamole available on display and for purchase. Dirk and I are not proud; we tried it. Meh. But those cute cheerleaders who slaved over a hot (cold?) bowl the size of a hot tub mashing case after case of avocados, all the while cheering aloud and shaking their cute young bodies was a bit inspiring. Well, that was Dirk’s take anyway.
On the last day of the festival there is a guacamole contest, where mere mortals like myself can enter with a chance to win either 1st, 2nd or 3rd place ribbons along with your 15 minutes of fame in the local papers.
Dirk says my guacamole is pretty good, so I am entering the event tomorrow. I’ll post some prep photos and shots at the festival. Tasting and judging begins Sunday at 1pm, so we’re heading down to pick up my mom just after noon and we’ll see how it goes.
You would think finding the perfectly ripe avocados for said guacamole would be easy, but actually the festival does not coincide with the true avocado season, which hits here later in the fall. Most avocados in the store right now are either grown in Chile or Mexico. The local avocados available more resemble the firmness of a hand grenade than a soft, yielding vegetable. Not helpful.
Luckily, we had an ace in the hole. A client of ours has his very own avocado farm, so he was gracious enough to supply us with a dozen large Haas beauties earlier this week. Picked unripe, he recommended we place them in a large brown bag and toss in a ripe banana to speed the ripening process.
As of yesterday, I was 1 for 12. 1 ripe avocado and 11 green bombs. Plan B resulted in a couple stops to our local markets where I was lucky enough to purchase a half dozen local ripe-ish beauties. Another banana and brown bag later, I am hoping the last 16 hours will take them right to the edge of perfection.
Then I will smash them.
So, fingers crossed and all that. I’ll post the results (hopefully success will be mine!) At the very least, I’ll have fun in the process and can hang out on the beach eating great food. I’d better not fill up on too much guac though. Those 10 pounds of avocados on hand will ripen eventually. Let’s see, avocado brownies… avocado soup, avocado bread…