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Green carpet rolled out for launch of New Zealand Avocado's biggest season ever

There’s only one fruit with enough star power to attract a high profile crowd and shine at its own official season launch party – New Zealand’s amazing avocado. A "green carpet” event was held at Ostro’s Screening Room in Auckland on 17 August to celebrate the beginning of the 2016-17 avocado season. Attending guests include New Zealand celebrities, influential social media bloggers, high-profile chefs and New Zealand magazine editors - all of whom are influential New Zealanders who love avocados. Avocados are set to return to our lives in a big way. Avocado trees bear fruit biennially, meaning they can produce a small crop one year which is often followed by a large crop the next. Thankfully this summer is set to deliver a whopping 7.6 million trays – nearly double the volume available last year. NZ Avocado Chief Executive, Jen Scoular says this launch celebrated not only the biggest crop they have ever had, but also the fact that they are nearly half way to achieving their sales goal of $280 million by 2023. "Our nation is full of diehard avocado fans, so for many Kiwis 2016 is the year of the New Zealand avocado!  It’s also perfect timing for the All Black’s test this weekend, as we all know they are big avocado fans and the country can enjoy avocado dips and goodies while supporting our men in black.” NZ Avocado hosted the launch party to celebrate the fruit’s enormous popularity and showcase its great flavour, versatility and health benefits. Guests were served five different avocado dishes to help whet their appetite and inspire new ideas about how to serve and enjoy this delicious fruit. Popular author and Healthy Food Guide nutritionist Claire Turnbull spoke at the event about the incredible health benefits avocados have to offer. Avocados can legitimately be called a "superfood”. They’re full of healthy monounsaturated fats which are great for your heart and cholesterol levels, and help keep your appetite under control. They’re also packed with a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals, are low in sugar and sodium, and are a good source of dietary fibre. Thanks to a growing body of scientific and nutritional research, avocados have never been more popular. They’re now the star attraction on breakfast menus worldwide, and have been called the "Oprah of Instagram” thanks to the number of snaps people post of their favourite avocado creations.  "The social media buzz and excitement around avocados returning to our supermarket shelves is unbelievable, so we want to grab this opportunity to showcase and celebrate everything we love about this amazing fruit,” says Scoular.

New Zealand avocados back on the menu soon

New Zealand restaurants and cafes are being encouraged to follow global health and food trends with the inclusion of avocados on their menu, as a way of attracting more customers through the door. There is good news for café owners and restaurateurs in that over the next month avocado supply will build with a forecast record crop this season, which will ensure plenty of avocados are available for everyone to enjoy this spring and summer. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado says avocados are trending everywhere and by July there will be plenty available to be included in café and restaurant menus. "Avocados have become a versatile and innovative ingredient on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus worldwide. Diners love to see the healthy avocado being used in different ways – and what makes New Zealand avocados even better is that all fresh avocados sold in New Zealand are grown in New Zealand.” Avocado sushi, smoothies, avocado fries, hummus, pasta sauce and salad dressings are all trending, while classic combinations such as smashed avocado on toast, with eggs, in salads and sandwiches are reaching new culinary heights. Mikey Newlands, Executive Chef of Bracu Restaurant in Auckland loves using avocado in his dishes.  "As they are super nutritious, using New Zealand avocados in cooking is a great way to add vitamins and minerals to dishes.  Many of my customers say that dishes that utilise avocado are clean, light and easy to eat and something they could eat everyday rather than leaving them feeling heavy or overfed.”  Avocados and Mexican food are strongly linked and there has been a visible rise in the popularity of Mexican restaurants in New Zealand including franchises Mad Mex and Mexicali Fresh.  Mad Mex New Zealand Group Managing Director, James Tucker, says that on average they use around a tonne of fresh avocados weekly. "Our amigos love our freshly prepared guacamole that is made from real avocados every single day and proves to be a very popular extra on our menu.”  "Avocado makes for a very healthy, nutritious and authentic add-on to any of our menu items. Whether added to burritos, tacos or as a side served with tortilla chips, guacamole is a key component to Mexican cuisine and is served all year round.”  New Zealanders are obsessed with this delicious healthy fruit, following a world-wide foodie trend to enjoy avocados at any time of the day or night and international chefs are now going to great lengths to showcase this super fruit on their latest menus, using their expert knife skills to prepare delicate ‘avocado roses’ and ‘shaved avocado ribbons.’ These visually-stunning tricks are re-inventing the way diners can eat avocado on toast or enjoy avocado as a salad, sandwich or pizza topping. Die-hard avocado lovers are always looking for inventive new ways to enjoy their favourite fruit, and almost all cuisines can now incorporate avocados into their menus in one form or another. Sweet avocado dishes are also growing in popularity including brownies, cheesecake, ice-cream, chocolate mud cakes and a range of other desserts and baked goods. One of the reasons avocados have become so immensely popular is their amazing health benefits. Diners know that choosing an avocado dish off the menu is a guilt-free way of treating themselves to a delicious meal. Avocados are packed full of healthy monounsaturated fats which are great for cardiovascular health and help keep you fuller for longer. They are also low in sugar and sodium, are a good source of dietary fibre, and contain vital nutrients such as vitamin B6, folate, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin C and potassium. Consumer research conducted late last year showed 90,000 more New Zealand households bought avocados last season (2014-15) compared with the year before and avocados produced record-breaking domestic sales of $41 million during the 2015-16 season.  "More people are savouring avocados every season and in our increasingly health-conscious society, that trend is only going to continue.” Says Scoular. "We’re looking forward to seeing what new avocado-inspired ideas New Zealand’s food service industry can serve up this year to ‘wow’ their customers and take things to another level.”

NZAGA Executive Committee and Board elections

At the 2016 NZAGA & AIC Annual General Meeting, the term of office will be complete for three of your NZAGA & AIC Grower Directors and four positions will be available for nomination of an NZAGA member - one for Far North, two for Mid North and one At Large.  We have had three nominees for the Mid-North positions and four nominees for the At Large position.  There will be an opportunity for NZAGA members to meet the candidates on the 26 July in Te Puke, 27 July in Whangarei and 28 July in Katikati. Click here for event details.  To find out more about each candidate, please see the resource listed below.

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Upcoming Events

NZAGA and AIC Annual General Meeting

04:00 PM, 01 September 2016

Register now for the NZAGA & AIC Annual General Meeting to be held at Club Mount Maunganui, 45 Kawaka Street, Mount Maunganui. AGM: 4:00pm - 5:30pm 2015-16 year in review 2016-17 budget Voting on remits Afternoon tea and refreshments included Registration for these events is essential for catering and space requirements. Please contact Jo  Nunn jo.nunn@nzavocado.co.nz or call 0800 286 2236. 

Annual General Meeting dinner

06:30 PM, 01 September 2016

Following the conclusion of the AGM at Club Mount Maunganui, there will be a dinner at Halo Restaurant at Trinity Wharf in Tauranga. We have arranged a delicious set menu and invite growers to come along and socialise in this beautiful setting with a lovely view. Location: 51 Dive Crescent, Tauranga Set 3 course menu $64. Please pay the restaurant directly. Beverages additional. The dinner does require registration with Jo as above please, and please indicate any special dietary requirements. Registration is required for this event. Please contact Jo Nunn jo.nunn@nzavocado.co.nzor call 0800 286 2236. 

NZ Avocado Grower Forum - Mount Maunganui

10:30 AM, 01 September 2016

With the release of phenomenal New Zealand market results for the 2015-16 season, we are keen to celebrate the industry’s impressive growth as we head into our biggest season yet. We look forward to sharing a review of the activities that have made a difference this season and the planned activity that will continue to drive growth going forward. The Grower Forum will include updates on the deliverables of the Primary Growth Partnership Programme: NZ Avocados Go Global. We will review the New Zealand market – from where it started to where it’s at now and plans for the future, we will look at our export markets and the innovative promotional activity taking place within them. We will provide updates of the exciting results that have been coming through the PGP and MBIE programmes, and outline plans for the year ahead. We found that the grower workshop worked well last year, and so we will include one again - this year the workshop will be looking at tree performance monitoring, in particular, the techniques for monitoring and how they can benefit orchard decision making.  We will have an overview of our biosecurity strategy and an update on AvoGreen in relation to market access.  Throughout the day, we will also have a special guest speakers presenting on a variety of topics - from the new health and safety regulations, to important spray application information.  Grower Forum: 10.30am - 3.30pm including morning tea and lunch AGM registration: 3.30pm - 4.00pm including afternoon tea Annual General Meeting: 4.00pm - 5.30pm, followed by refreshments AGM dinner: 6.30pm onwards at Halo Restaurant, Trinity Wharf, 51 Dive Crescent, Tauranga. Registration for these events is essential for catering and space requirements. Please contact Jo  Nunn jo.nunn@nzavocado.co.nz or call 0800 286 2236. 

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