Autumn heralds the avocado season, and this year it also marks the 50th anniversary of the South African Avocado Growers’ Association (SAAGA). This was celebrated by SAAGA at a recent event held. The Wolfpack in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. Role-players in the avo industry and members of the media were treated to an avo-filled day.
Bonnie Buthelezi, market development manager of the South African Subtropical Growers’ Association (Subtrop) which is the umbrella association of SAAGA, briefly shared the history of local avocado production. The first orchard was established in the 1920s, and the first meeting of avocado producers from different areas of the country was held in Tzaneen, Limpopo in 1967.
Avo production in the country has a very short history, and many South Africans grew up not knowing avos as we do today. However, in the areas where avocados commonly grow almost everyone had a tree in their backyard. By now, avos practically form part of our heritage, greatly contributing to South Africa’s present and future as a mayor avocado exporter.
The avo season also brings with it an opportunity to improve your health, by adding an avo a day to your diet. At the event, Jane Badham, a well-known dietician and nutritionist who is a consultant for Shape magazine and a regular on radio talk shows, shared the latest research on the health value of avocados.
By adding an avo to your diet, you can significantly increase heart health, and it is delicious too! The versatility of this fruit makes it easy to add it to at least one meal a day. Badham suggested eating avos, known for their healthy fat content, instead of taking in less healthy saturated fats found in cheese and bacon, for instance. Whip up some avo to replace the mayo or add it to your morning smoothie.
Naturally, guests feasted on the menu of the day that showcased avocado in several of the meals served at the function. They were also spoiled with a gift basket filled with fresh avocados, oils and beauty products. The fruit even featured in the decorations!
Enjoy the 2017 avocado season, and remember to celebrate the producers who make such an abundant supply possible the next time you add an avo to your favourite meal. – Ursula Human, Farm fare
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