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Read More 13 Jun '17 Biosecurity preparedness for the avocado industry  Photo

Biosecurity preparedness for the avocado industry

Biosecurity preparedness for the avocado industry NZ Avocado is seeking industry feedback on the intention to sign the Brown Marmorated Stink Bug (BMSB) Operational Agreement (OA).  Just like the Fruit Fly OA, this is a threat specific arrangement under the Government Industry Agreement (GIA) biosecurity partnership. All horticulture groups were asked to undertake research to determine if they will be impacted by the arrival of BMSB into New Zealand. NZ Avocado has now completed this assessment and believes that we would be a minor beneficiary for the collective readiness and response activities that industries and MPI will undertake. Although the threat to avocados is believed to be minimal there remains a number of unknowns as BMSB has not yet invaded some of the major avocado producing areas of California so the investigation into the bugs potential to impact avocados continues.  The conclusion of the NZAGA Executive is that we should be part of the BMSB Operational Agreement. However, as the impact to avocados is minimal we have negotiated a very lowimpact rating and proportionate cost share (0.2%) with a well-defined fiscal cap. This ability to fix an industry’s financial liability through the Operational Agreement process is one of the main advantages of joining GIA.  With over 150 BMSB interception events in the 2016-17 risk period (September to April), this invasive bug has a high potential of invading NZ in the coming years. Through the GIA partnership we would want to help mitigate the impact of BMSB as they will also be a significant household nuisance for growers. See video here Also see the following video produced by MPI on the potential impacts to horticulture in New Zealand. See video here   Please contact Brad Siebert if you wish to discuss this further. 

Read More 17 May '17 On The Way To Meet Audacious Goals - Growers Rewarded With Record New Zealand Avocado Season Photo

On The Way To Meet Audacious Goals - Growers Rewarded With Record New Zealand Avocado Season

The New Zealand avocado industry has just reported its highest value ever with avocados sales reaching $198 million, an increase of $64 million on last season and $62 million higher than the previous record of $136 million in 2013-14. Volume too was a record 7.7 million trays in the 2016-17 season - an 84% increase on last season. The season saw significant increases in demand across all markets, with Australia remaining the industry’s largest market with an almost insatiable consumer demand. Over 70% of New Zealand avocados are exported with the remaining avocados sold in New Zealand. New Zealanders too are finding more and tastier ways to use avocados, and starting to add them regularly to their shopping basket. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, says the industry’s Primary Growth Partnership programme: NZ Avocados Go Global, has provided a major boost to the sector. "We are part of an industry that has gone from $70 million in value in 2013 to an impressive $200 million in 2017. The Go Global programme gave us the platform as an industry to develop a strategy with audacious goals of quadrupling sales and trebling productivity in ten years. That strategy, and Crown investment has been implemented and resulted in fantastic growth in value right across the supply chain” says Scoular. "The independent review of the NZ Avocados Go Global programme said the five-year programme had made a major contribution to the New Zealand avocado industry,” says Scoular. "The review noted that we’ve achieved a step change in the way the industry operates and it’s now a much more trusting, collaborative, cohesive, communicative and co-ordinated industry, with a correspondingly greater public profile.” Alistair Petrie, Chair of the Avocado Exporter Council said, "We saw a superb increase in demand that was matched by excellent planning and supply from harvest through to delivery to customers in market. Versatility, health benefits and the amazing taste of avocados are the key drivers for that demand.” Ashby Whitehead, Chair of NZ Avocado, says the industry is in the best state it has been for many years. "With the huge increase in value from avocados and much higher visibility of the global opportunities, we are seeing strong growth throughout the industry. Demand for new trees has resulted in a near trebling of production at nurseries, large commercial investors in Northland are converting dairy farms to avocado orchards and smaller orchards are maximising the productivity of their orchards. Growers will be very happy with their returns and are looking at further investment. It’s a very exciting time to be in the New Zealand avocado industry.”

Read More 01 May '17 Where have all the avocados gone Photo

Where have all the avocados gone

Ever wondered where avocados in NZ come from or why the supply changes through out the year? We've created a video that explains it all!  Check it out here

Read More 03 Mar '17 New Zealand's Best Avocado Cafe Announced Photo

New Zealand's Best Avocado Cafe Announced

The hunt for the most popular avocado dish in New Zealand is over after thousands cast their votes. New Zealand Avocado invited cafes and restaurants throughout the country to send in their best-selling avocado recipes to battle it out via a Facebook poll amongst their 22,000 diehard New Zealand Avocado Facebook fans. The competition was tight, with nearly 2,000 avocado aficionados casting votes for 22 eateries from Auckland to Queenstown. Ultimately it was Best Ugly Bagels’ recipe for T.A.B – Tomato, Avocado and fresh Basil with Al Brown Lemon and Fennel infused Olive Oil, served on a toasted sesame bagel, that came out on top, winning the cafe the title of ‘New Zealand's Best Avocado Cafe 2017’.  Jeremy Coombes of Best Ugly Bagels, said this bagel consistently ranks in their top three sellers all year round.  "People are always raving about avocado on toast, but it’s even better on a freshly baked bagel! Add juicy sliced tomato on top and the combination of the tomato’s acidity and the creaminess of avocado - you really can’t beat it.” Best Ugly Bagels is owned by celebrity chef Al Brown who was delighted with the win. "We are thrilled to win this award and absolutely love using avocados here at Best Ugly Bagels.” The competition highlighted the versatility of avocados with mouth-watering recipes such as a scallop, bacon and avocado salad, an avocado, tomato, balsamic & watermelon salsa with crispy bacon and a tapas-style avocado addiction platter. New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular said the response to the competition had been fantastic. "We were so impressed by the calibre of dishes sent in and love that we had representation from cafes nationwide.” This season has produced the largest New Zealand avocado harvest on record. New Zealanders have already consumed over 40 million avocados and the season’s not over yet. Growth in demand for avocados in New Zealand has been phenomenal, never before have we seen such a large volume be consumed so quickly in New Zealand. Scoular points to a huge collaborative effort between avocado wholesale marketers, supermarkets and NZ Avocado over the past few seasons as helping to make consumers aware of avocados amazing health benefits and versatility. NZ Avocado Market Manager Bevan Jelley said NZ Avocado’s increased focus on social media is helping take engagement with everyday New Zealanders to new levels. "New Zealand’s best avocado café competition was great because it benefited consumers, cafes and New Zealand’s avocado growers.” Consumer demand for avocados continues to grow in both at-home use and the food service industry with avocado dishes, such as the famed avocado on toast, becoming increasingly popular on menus nationwide. "Demand for amazing avocados is very high because avocados hit three sweet spots for consumers – they’re healthy, they are super versatile and they taste great,” explains Scoular." New research on the specific nutrient properties of avocados from New Zealand is expected to produce exciting results in the months ahead.” Check out the video here  See the recipe here

Read More 12 Dec '16 Taste of Auckland - a great success Photo

Taste of Auckland - a great success

We celebrated our amazing product and enjoyed mixing with foodies at the recent Taste of Auckland festival at Western Springs, Auckland held 17-20 November. We used it as a fun team building event, where seven of the team were involved in preparing and sharing over 7700 delicious samples for more than 6,000 visitors to our stand. It was great to have Nadia Lim join us on the Saturday and Sunday to interact with visitors to our stand and demonstrate three terrific avocado recipes – avocado bliss balls, avocado chocolate mousse and avocado pina colada smoothies. Nadia told her audiences about her love of avocados, her favourite ways to eat them or feed them to her 7-month old baby Bodhi, and her key avocado ripening and storing tips. Taste of Auckland is the largest food and wine festival in New Zealand and is held during the main part of the avocado season, so it’s perfect for promoting our avocados. This was our third year at Taste and it was a great success. We receive incredibly positive feedback from guests who loved our avocado samples and showed a real interest in the industry. For more images from the event check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/nzavocado and for the recipes we shared check out our website http://www.nzavocado.co.nz/online/recipes.csn.

Read More 08 Dec '16 Get creative with avocados this Christmas! Photo

Get creative with avocados this Christmas!

Avocados are in abundant supply this season and with Christmas just around the corner, they are the perfect addition to your Christmas holiday menu. We enlisted the help of five of our favourite foodie bloggers - Nicola Galloway Homegrown Kitchen, Pregnancy Exercise, Pretty Damn Good For You, Katie in the Kitchen, Dom's Kitchen - and asked them to create an amazing avocado Christmas creation. Check out the recipes they came up with in the links below. Nicola Galloway Homegrown Kitchen Chilled cucumber avocado soup Pregnancy Exercise Avocado mousse with smoked salmon and cream cheese on a kumara crisp Super avocado breakfast smoothie Pretty Damn Good For You Avocado, asparagus and mint rice paper rolls with almond satay sauce Katie in the Kitchen Best guacamole ever Dom's Kitchen Avocado ice cream

Read More 08 Dec '16 Inspiring The Next Generation Of Avocado Lovers  Photo

Inspiring The Next Generation Of Avocado Lovers

Leading nutritionist Claire Turnbull is encouraging Kiwi parents to introduce avocado into their children’s diets as soon as possible and has invented an amazing new range of recipes to tempt young taste buds these school holidays. The popular nutritionist, author, speaker and Healthy Food Guide contributor says encouraging your children to eat avocado will help set them up with healthy food habits for life.  The delicious fruit is also low in sugar and sodium and high in fibre, which we all know is important, and helps to keep small tummies feeling fuller for longer.  To foster a life-long love of avocados, Turnbull has developed a range of kid-friendly recipes including purees, ice-creams and a loveable ‘morepork’ made entirely of fruit and vegetables which almost looks too cute to eat! These fun and creative recipes will keep your kids well-nourished and well-entertained during the upcoming school holidays. When it comes to dessert, Turnbull has perfected two delicious ice-cream recipes – chocolate avocado ice-cream and white chocolate avocado ice-cream. "Children love sweet treats but a lot of treats are packed with sugar and unhealthy fats. Avocados are the perfect base for super healthy desserts and treats for kids. Full of healthy fats, their creamy rich texture makes them an ideal ingredient to make ice-cream.” Alternatively, these recipes can also be made into popsicles for a great mid-afternoon snack. Turnbull’s own young son, Zac, loves moreporks and is the inspiration behind her adorable ‘avocado morepork’. Using half a peeled avocado for the body, you can use mushrooms, carrots, celery, capsicum and apple to finish off your delicious creation that kids won’t be able to resist.  "My little boy LOVES moreporks and he enjoyed eating his very own avocado one with some homemade brown rice sushi with salmon, avocado and veggies. If you can make meals fun to eat in this way you’re more likely to convince fussy eaters to give something new a try. With school holidays just around the corner, getting kids in the kitchen creating their own moreporks is also great fun,” she explains. NZ Avocado Chief Executive Jen Scoular is thrilled with Turnbull’s new recipe suggestions which give parents plenty of inspiration without making life too difficult. "Every parent knows time is precious so whipping up these quick purees and ice-creams is a great way to create a nutritious meal or treat in a short space of time,” Scoular says. Avocado is also a perfect first food for babies.  "It can be made incredibly smooth initially when babies are just starting to learn to eat, and then lumpier as babies progress and are able to manage this texture,” Turnbull explains. "Avocado’s smooth, creamy consistency and excellent nutritional content make it an ideal first food,” Turnbull explains. "They’re packed with almost 20 vitamins and nutrients, are full of healthy fats, are great for energy and the development of your little one’s immune, brain and nervous system.” Avocado blends easily with other fruits and vegetables to make delicious puree mixes such as avocado and mango, avocado and broccoli, or avocado and pea baby food.  "We all want our children to grow up eating a healthy diet and avocados pack a big nutritional punch. The sooner you can introduce this delicious-tasting fruit into their daily diet, the better. We hope New Zealand parents enjoy giving these new recipes a try.” says Scoular. Find all of Claire’s recipes, as well as other great avocado recipes for kids here

Read More 29 Nov '16 AMAZING AVOCADOS! How to make the most of them Photo

AMAZING AVOCADOS! How to make the most of them

 This blog article was provided by thebabyview.com What an amazing abundance of quality Avocado’s there are around at the moment! It certainly makes up for earlier in the year when the shortage made the news headlines and saw people resorting to drastic measures like stealing them!Not only are avocados delicious they also pack some serious health benefits: They contain more potassium than bananas. They are loaded with monounsaturated fats – the good ones. These good fats contain oleic acid which have been linked to reduction of inflammation. 100 grams of Avocado contains 7 grams of fiber, 27% more than the recommended daily amount They can help you absorb fat soluble vitamins A, B D & K from other foods more efficiently. With all those heath benefits who can resist stocking up when there are great deals around like 5 for $5! If you have more than you know what to do with we some interesting ways to make the most of them; Check out these ways to use avocados – you may be surprised! In Baking: Avocados can be used in baking as a replacement for butter, great for those who are avoiding dairy. They create a moist soft texture and make for beautifully rich cakes that are less crumbly. Avocados can even be used in the icing, just replace out the butter or margarine. Check out this delicious Avocanana Bread Recipe Avocado in Smoothies: Adding avocado to your smoothie increases the health benefits significantly plus adds a smooth creamy texture with only very subtle flavour change. They can be added to just about any type of smoothie but go especially well in green smoothies, Try this yummy Avocado Smoothie Recipe For Baby: With so many nutrients and goodness Avocados are a perfect every day food for baby. The options are unlimited! Avocado can be blended with a variety of other foods to create a smooth creamy texture baby will love. Foods like broccoli, peas, zucchini areavocado-1476494_1920 all great to blend with avocado, if you have some leftover pop it into ice cube trays and freeze so you always have some on hand. You can create sweet treats for baby too, checkout this Avocado Mango Puree  Avocado is also perfect in salads, with eggs on toast and much more, check out more great  recipes here.

Read More 08 Sep '16 Supercharge your kids lunchbox with avocado Photo

Supercharge your kids lunchbox with avocado

Back to school means getting back into a lunchbox routine. There s one superfood which will provide your kids with the essential nutrients they need to keep them full of energy at school.  Avocado is an increasingly popular addition to school lunchboxes as parents come up with clever ways to encourage their kids to eat it.   Including avocado in wraps, sandwiches or bread rolls; using it in place of mayonnaise, butter or margarine; and including it as a healthy ingredient when baking muffins, brownies and cupcakes, are all great ideas to up your kid s intake of this superfood.    Avocado bliss balls are also a lunchbox winner as they are easy to transport, kids love them and they pack a big nutritional punch in a small package.  Our avocado bliss balls recipe is delicious and super easy to make!  And it s well worth the effort. The protein, fibre and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat contained in avocados help create stable energy levels.  The oleic acid found in avocados helps tell your brain that your stomach is full, while the fibre and good fats take longer to digest so you don t feel hungry as often this also means kids are less likely to reach for sugary foods.  Avocados are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and B complex vitamins which contribute to a healthy nervous system and improved brain function including memory, focus and learning.  Opting for unprocessed foods like avocado will also reduce the overall amount of trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup your kids might eat during the day. Fresh food is always best to keep kids energy levels balanced and help them maintain their concentration.   So what are the best avocado lunchbox ideas?  You could pre-cut avocado into little cubes, prepare a small container of guacamole for them to dip crackers or carrot sticks into, or include it in their sandwiches, wraps or rolls.   To keep avocado fresh, just squeeze a few drops of lemon juice over the top.  When baking, replace the butter in your recipe for the equivalent amount of mashed avocado instead. It s a healthy and creamy addition that will result in soft, moist cakes, muffins and other baked goods. Try making avocado brownies, avocado muffins, or avocado chocolate cake. Your kids won t be able to resist!  This amazing superfood delivers a host of other health benefits including boosting your immune system, promoting healthy vision, aiding healthy digestion and building strong muscles.   So when you re packing school lunchboxes this term, remember you re feeding more than just kids tummies. Give them food that is going to fuel their minds and benefit their bodies at the same time.

Read More 19 Aug '16 New Zealand avocados back on the menu soon Photo

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.

Read More 19 Aug '16 Green carpet rolled out for launch of New Zealand Avocado's biggest season ever Photo

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.

Read More 19 Feb '16 Avocados cholesterol lowering properties Photo

Avocados cholesterol lowering properties

They are a great addition to a salad or smoothie. But for many, the avocado has come to be seen as a guilty pleasure. Though classed as a fruit, it is not typical in the fact that rather than being high in carbohydrate, avocados are high in fat. Fat has long been hailed the dietary enemy number one, but as the tables turn and the scientific spotlight shines more acutely on sugar, so the benefits of the humble avocado are being realised.  A new study has revealed adding the green fruit to your diet can aid weight loss.    Furthermore, the fruit reduces a person s risk of heart disease, according to scientists from the Hass Avocado Board, in California. Emiliano Escobedo, executive director, said: This study supports the body of research showing the many benefits that fresh avocados have to offer when consumed in everyday healthy eating plans. The findings fall in line with recent recommendations from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines stated that making small shifts in food choices can make a difference including shifting from solid fats to oils, such as the oil in fresh avocados. The new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Lipidology, confirmed that swapping solid fats for avocados can significantly change lipid profiles'. Scientists analyzed 10 unique avocado studies with 229 participants. The researchers assessed the impact of avocado on cholesterol levels. They found that consuming one to one-and-a-half avocados per day significantly reduced total cholesterol'. Additionally, it also limited the 'bad' low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides when substituted for sources of fat. Corresponding study author Dr Sachin Shah noted that the results showed that even healthy study subjects showed significant reductions. Dr Nikki Ford, director of nutrition for Hass Avocado Board, said: Fresh avocado, as part of a balanced diet, and as a cholesterol-free substitute for solid fats, can help be part of the solution for maintaining normal cholesterol levels.   Beyond their naturally good fats, avocados are also a delicious way to boost fiber and fruit intakes, both of which are under consumed in American diets. Having high levels of bad cholesterol is known to be a major risk factor for heart disease, according to the study. Cardiovascular disease is responsible for one out of every four deaths and it is the number one killer of men and women. Heart disease is also one of the leading causes of disability. The study noted that additional research must be conducted to look at the impact of avocados on major adverse cardiovascular events. Furthermore, the optimal amount of avocado and frequency of use needs further evaluation, the scientists noted. Mr Escobedo said: 'Clinical studies are currently underway to investigate the relationship between avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, support of weight management and healthy living.'

Read More 02 Feb '16 Kiwi love affair with avocados growing stronger Photo

Kiwi love affair with avocados growing stronger

More New Zealanders are declaring their love for avocados than ever before and Nadia Lim has devised a special Valentine s Day treat that s sure to tempt any chocolate lover. The latest research conducted by Nielsen Homescan shows 90,000 more Kiwi households are buying avocados than in previous seasons. In fact, New Zealanders bought avocados 5.5 times last season on average (compared with just 4.8 times in 2013-14) so now is a great time to experiment with new avocado recipes. Cook, dietician and avocado lover, Nadia Lim, has created a mouth-watering avocado chocolate ganache cake - a twist on a traditional chocolate cake. "The chocolate ganache on this cake uses avocados and coconut milk as the delicious ingredients that give it its creaminess, however the whole cake is also dairy free!  The cake itself is super moist and rich, with the help of rich avocado oil. "Avocados are simply amazing when whizzed up with melted chocolate, producing a thick, silky, creamy ganache. Lim says if you re not planning to eat the cake straight away, you can freeze it before it is iced. But the ganache is best made fresh. "This is a great recipe to try on Valentine s Day because it is decadent, moist and a total treat. "Introducing more avocados into the diet of your loved one is a delicious gift, Lim says. Click here for the recipe.

Read More 10 Sep '15 Kick start your kids' healthy eating habits with avocado pizza Photo

Kick start your kids' healthy eating habits with avocado pizza

School  holidays are a great time to experiment  in the kitchen and encourage your kids to eat new foods & and avocados should be  top of the list of healthy things to try.  Avocados are a nutritional powerhouse and their creamy texture appeals to children of all ages. They are full of fibre to help energise and sustain busy youngsters. Plus they are also sugar-free, low in salt and a source of good fat which is important for a healthy heart.  Eating avocados can also help your child s body absorb more vital nutrients from other foods they consume. Avocados contain more potassium per 100 grams than a banana, and are a source of folate and antioxidants & that s why they re considered nature s superfood .  While some kids are reluctant to eat anything green, pizza is always a winner. Try this delicious Avocado Pizza recipe to get your kids in the kitchen these school holidays so they can learn how to become healthy Avo-heroes! Avocado and Bacon Pizza Avocado and bacon go so well together on pizza, and this recipe is one that the kids will love to make and eat! Makes 2 pizzas, enough to serve 3-4 people Prep time: 20 minutes 40 minutes rising time for the dough           Cook time: 12-15 minutes Pizza base (makes 4 pizza bases) 1 cup (250ml) warm water 1 tablespoon active dried yeast 1 teaspoon sugar450g high grade flour 1 tablespoon olive oil1 teaspoon salt Toppings 1 x 400g can crushed or pureed tomatoes 1 red capsicum, sliced 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese 2 avocados, sliced 200g bacon, cut into pieces and fried red onion, very thinly sliced To make the pizza dough, put the warm water in a mixing bowl and add the yeast and sugar. Stir gently. Leave in a warm place until the yeast has dissolved and the mixture is frothy. Mix well.  Place the flour, olive oil and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the yeast mixture and mix well to form a dough (note: there may be some left over flour in the bowl once you ve formed the dough, this is fine). Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, then place in an oiled bowl. Cover with a tea towel or clingfilm and place in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk (about 40 minutes). Once it has risen, knock back the dough and divide into 4 even pieces. This recipe uses 2 pizza bases so you can refrigerate or freeze the other 2 pieces of dough (wrapped well in clingfilm) to use at a later date. Alternatively you can cook all four pizzas, and just double the amount of toppings listed above! Preheat oven to 230degC. If you have them, place two pizza stones on separate shelves in the oven to preheat. Alternatively preheat 2 oven trays. Get them really hot (this helps the bases crisp up on the bottom). Lay each pizza base on a sheet of baking paper and roll them out to get a nice thin base. Spread tomato sauce over each base, leaving an edge for the crust. Sprinkle over mozzarella and arrange red capsicum and red onion on top. Carefully lift up the baking paper with the pizza on top and place on hot preheated stone or tray. Cook the pizza until the base is crisp and the cheese is melted and golden, about 12 minutes. Take pizzas out of the oven and arrange slices of avocado and bacon on top. Slice and serve!   About New Zealand Avocado The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. NZ Avocado Growers' Association Inc. (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council Ltd (AIC) & collectively NZ Avocado, operates under the Horticultural Export Authority Act to set mandatory industry standards for all fruit exported from New Zealand. NZ Avocado also facilitates access for avocados to off shore markets. NZ Avocado works with the industry to promote New Zealand avocados and provide technical information to all growers of which there are over 1,350 based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. 

Read More 03 Sep '15 Burgers OK for Father's Day thanks to promising avocado research Photo

Burgers OK for Father's Day thanks to promising avocado research

Research shows you can give your Dad the gift of good health this Father s Day by simply adding half an avocado to his hamburger. A pilot study carried out by the University of California (UCLA) and supported by the Hass Avocado Board, examined what happened when healthy men added half a fresh avocado to their hamburgers. The study found avocado helped reduce inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels in comparison to men who ate a meat-only burger instead. The research, published in the journal Food and Function, said the effect of adding fresh avocado to the hamburgers was noticeable within hours. Consuming avocado helped slow the production of compounds that contributed to inflammation & a risk-factor associated with heart disease. The avocado also helped the men (aged 18 to 35) maintain normal blood flow around their bodies which ensured oxygen and vital nutrients reached their organs, tissues and cells. Researchers believe these positive health effects are because avocados are rich in natural monounsaturated healthy fats and antioxidants. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado says the hamburger research has not been discussed in New Zealand before and there is now growing consumer awareness and understanding of the health benefits avocados can offer. The study also provides promising clues about the impact avocado has vascular and heart health in particular. "Avocados are one of the most nutritionally-complete foods in the world, Scoular says. "They re full of fibre and help your body absorb more nutrients, from other foods you eat." Eating avocado is not only delicious & it s a great way to improve your overall health. New Zealand s summer crop of avocados are now on sale & just in time for families to get creative in the kitchen this Father s Day (Sunday 6 September). "The kids will love smashing up avocado to add to gourmet hamburgers. New Zealand men & and their hearts & will thank you for it. says Scoular. To read more about the study s key findings visit http://www.avocadocentral.com/avocado-nutrition-center/ucla-study *While these are initial findings from a single study, they provide promising clues and a basis for future research to determine whether avocados can play a role in the areas of vascular health and heart health.  About New Zealand Avocado The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. NZ Avocado Growers' Association Inc. (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council Ltd (AIC) & collectively NZ Avocado, operates under the Horticultural Export Authority Act to set mandatory industry standards for all fruit exported from New Zealand. NZ Avocado also facilitates access for avocados to off shore markets. NZ Avocado works with the industry to promote New Zealand avocados and provide technical information to all growers of which there are over 1,350 based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. For further comment and information please contactMidge Munro Communications Manager, New Zealand Avocado p: 64 7 571 6147 m: 64 21 275 3331 e: mmunro@nzavocado.co.nz  OR  Bridgette Paton-TapsellVillage Public Relations | Marketingp: 64 7 572 1608m: 64 27 5533929e: b@villagenz.com

Read More 07 Aug '15 Avocados now 'The Oprah of Instagram' Photo

Avocados now 'The Oprah of Instagram'

Avocados have been declared the Oprah of Instagram by renowned fashion blogger Leandra Medine and are the most photographed food of our time & just as New Zealand s new season crop is about to hit supermarket shelves here and overseas. New Zealand s avocado season begins in September and is likely to send Instagram s foodies and health and fitness fans into overdrive. Jen Scoular, Chief Executive of NZ Avocado, says the fruit s rising star status is great news for New Zealand s avocado industry which is on track to increase production to take advantage of ever increasing global demand. New Zealand sold a record 7.1 million trays worth $135m during the 2014-15 avocado season, of which 2.4 million trays were consumed by Kiwis here at home. About one in five of Nigella Lawson s recent Instagram posts have featured mashed avocado smothered on toast. Last month actress Emmy Rossum received 27,000 likes for posing in an Avocado Toast t-shirt, while Lena Dunham is another celebrity who likes to regularly snap her healthy avocado snacks. Bloggers and fashion influencers everywhere are leading the trend and avocados are now dominating the brunch and smoothie scene, becoming a must-have on every menu. The UK s Daily Mail have described avocado as "breakfast s new superstar and "the Kendall Jenner of the fruit bowl thanks to its popularity on Instagram. American blogger Leandra Medine, aka the Man Repeller, compared avocado s influence to that of Oprah, while Kelly Eastwood of The London Chatter says the obsession is here to stay. "Avocado on toast says: yes, I m hungover, I haven t showered yet but, hey, I m eating avocado at a cool Portobello Road café so I m still on top of the trend for all things healthy . Avocado is revered as a nutrient-dense, cholesterol-free fruit containing healthy fat. They re a great source of energy, keep you feeling fuller for longer, and are quick and easy to prepare.  About New Zealand Avocado The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. NZ Avocado Growers' Association Inc. (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council Ltd (AIC) work with the New Zealand industry to set export standards, facilitate market access, promote New Zealand avocados and provide technical information to all New Zealand growers of which there are over 1,350 based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. For more information visit www.nzavocado.co.nz or follow us on social @NZ_Avocado @Jen_Scoular @Midge_Munro

Read More 09 Dec '14 Why the Amazing Avocado Will Help You  Curb Cravings Photo

Why the Amazing Avocado Will Help You Curb Cravings

Research shows adding a few slices of avocado to your lunch will slash your desire to eat over the next three hours by 40 per cent compared to eating the same meal without it. A study, published in Nutrition Journal*, focussed on overweight adults to see if avocado consumption helped them feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat in the following few hours. Researchers at Loma Linda University in the United States conducted randomized single-blind crossover trials where participants ate a standard breakfast followed by one of three test lunches & one without avocado, one that included avocado and one where extra avocado was added. The volunteers glucose and insulin responses were measured, along with their feelings of satisfaction and desire to eat over the next five hours.The study found those who added half a fresh avocado to their lunch reported a 40 per cent decrease in desire to eat again over the next three hours, and a 28 per cent decrease in the following five hours. Participants also reported feeling more satisfied (26 per cent) during the course of the afternoon following their avocado lunch.Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to snack between meals, said Dr Joan Sabaté, Chair of the Department of Nutrition who led the research team at Loma Linda University. It was also noted that though adding avocados increased participants' calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the standard lunch. This leads them to believe that avocado s potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation. The study was funded by the American-based Hass Avocado Board. New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says there are many international studies underway to uncover the health benefits of avocados. "Other research published in Nutrition Journal found people who regularly eat avocados weigh 3.4kg less on average, and have waistlines around 4cm smaller, than those who don t, Scoular says. "Avocados are rich in monounsaturated ( good ) fats and are a low GI (glycemic index) food, so they will help you to feel fuller for longer. Another reason avocado will help fill you up is they are packed with fibre. Half an avocado will provide more than 25 per cent of your daily recommended fibre intake. "They re an absolute powerhouse when it comes to providing your body with the nutrients it needs each day. They also help your body absorb more nutrients from other fruit and vegetables you eat with avocado, Scoular explains. Boosting your avocado intake is easy as this home-grown fruit is extremely versatile. You can add a few slices to your favourite omelette, sandwich or salad, or eat them on toast at any time of day. "You can also blend them into smoothies or use them as a butter and oil substitute when baking or making desserts, she says. "Their creamy texture makes them perfect for mousses, ice cream and cheesecakes. Delicious and healthy! URL: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-01/fl-nre010714.php About New Zealand Avocado Avocados are the third-largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand. New Zealand Avocado works with the New Zealand industry to set export standards, facilitate market access, promote avocados from New Zealand and provide technical information to all New Zealand growers, of which there are more than 1600, based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. www.nzavocado.co.nz www.facebook.com/nzavocado www.twitter.com/NZ_Avocado www.instagram.com/nzavocado www.youtube.com/nzavocado For media assistance, please contact: Midge Munro Communications Manager Avocado Industry Council midge.munro@nzavocado.co.nz 64 27 306 7089 64 7 571 6147 Bridgette Paton-Tapsell Village Public Relations | Marketing b@villagenz.com 64 27 553 3929 64 7 572 1608  

Read More 08 Jan '14 New evidence published in nutrition journal reveals insights into the effects of adding half an avocado to lunch  Photo

New evidence published in nutrition journal reveals insights into the effects of adding half an avocado to lunch

Loma Linda University Study on Satiety is the Second in a Series of Hass Avocado Board-funded Nutrition Studies Expected to be Released over the Coming Years IRVINE, Calif. (January 8, 2014) & The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) today announced publication of a study that suggests adding one-half of a fresh avocado to a lunch may have helped 26 healthy, overweight people feel more satisfied and reduced their desire to eat following a meal. The avocado study, which was conducted by researchers at the Loma Linda University and funded by HAB, was published in Nutrition Journal, a monthly peer-reviewed journal that publishes work in the area of human nutrition. The human clinical study is the second in a series of HAB-funded nutrition studies expected to be released over the coming years as a part of HAB s single-minded nutrition marketing and research strategy. Researchers found that study participants who added half of a fresh Hass avocado to their lunch reported a significantly decreased desire to eat by 40 percent over a three-hour period, and by 28 percent over a five-hour period after the meal, compared to their desire to eat after a standard lunch without avocado. In addition, they reported increased feelings of hunger satisfaction by 26 percent over the three hours following the meal. "HAB has found that more and more retailers are communicating health information to customers to help them make smart eating choices, said Emilano Escobedo, executive director, Hass Avocado Board. "The nutrition research conducted by HAB is an important program that will help retailers accomplish that goal. "Satiety is an important factor in weight management, because people who feel satisfied are less likely to eat between meals, said Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH, Chair of the Department of Nutrition who led the research team at Loma Linda University. "We also noted that though adding Hass avocados increased participants calorie and carbohydrate intake at lunch, there was no increase in blood sugar levels beyond what was observed after eating the lunch without avocado. This leads us to believe that Hass avocados potential role in blood sugar management is worth further investigation. While the findings were generally positive, more research is needed to determine whether the conclusions drawn from this study can be applied to the general public. However, the results do provide promising clues and a basis for future research to determine Hass avocados effect on satiety, glucose and insulin response. "The publication of this study indicates a continued step forward for HAB s nutrition research program, said Escobedo. "We are confident that the program will continue to strengthen the positioning of Hass Avocados in the market. The research at Loma Linda University is one of several studies supported by HAB as part of a research program established in 2010. Clinical studies are currently underway to investigate the relationship between avocado consumption and risk factors for heart disease, diabetes, support of weight management and healthy living with top researchers and universities in the United States. To view the abstract or the full study, "A Randomized 3x3 Crossover Study to Evaluate the Effect of Hass Avocado Intake on Post Ingestive Satiety, Glucose and Insulin Levels, and Subsequent Energy Intake in Overweight Adults, visit www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/155/abstract. About the Hass Avocado Board The Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is an agriculture promotion group established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass Avocados in the United States. A 12-member board representing domestic producers and importers of Hass Avocados directs HAB s promotion, research and information programs under supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. In 2012, retail volume for avocados exceeded 1.1 billion units and retail sales topped $1.2 billion. HAB provides industry members and stakeholders with resources that they can use in their day-to-day business operations including shipment data and consumer research available at http://www.hassavocadoboard.com/. In 2010, HAB established a Nutrition Research program to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. The Nutrition Research program is an integral part of Love One Today, HAB s multi-year, science-based food and wellness education program to encourage Americans to include fresh Hass avocados in everyday healthy eating plans. For more information visit http://www.loveonetoday.com/research.

Read More 10 Dec '13 Summer Superfruit Celebration with Nadia Lim s Avocado Christmas Cheesecake  Photo

Summer Superfruit Celebration with Nadia Lim s Avocado Christmas Cheesecake

Foodies are in for a treat this month with New Zealand avocado ambassador and nutritionist Nadia Lim s latest delicious recipe for a dairy and gluten-free cheesecake. The recipe for the Avocado, Lime and Coconut Cheesecake is on the following page and is complemented by in-season berries. It is sure to be a conversation-piece at the Christmas dinner table. New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says with avocados you can indulge in a luxuriant summer superfruit dessert but also feel good about boosting your good fat intake. "Avocados offer people the best of both worlds, they are delicious and nutritious and count towards your five plus a day fruit and vegetable intake, says Scoular. Nadia says avocados are a perfect option for people who desire nutritious food that contributes positively to their overall health this Christmas. "Avocados are abundant in valuable vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates. Nutritionists have long recommended consuming avocados which are known to support improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake and heart health, she says. Avocados are part of the National Heart Foundation s Pick the Tick programme. They are cholesterol free, nutrient dense, and contain the good fats needed to help maintain a healthy heart. It s little wonder these super-fruits have been tagged the world s most nutritionally complete fruit by Guinness World Records. Click here for recipe

Read More 23 Sep '13 New Research Shows You Can Enhance Your Life By Eating Avocado Every Day Photo

New Research Shows You Can Enhance Your Life By Eating Avocado Every Day

Health conscious Kiwis and foodies alike now have even more reason to celebrate the arrival of the New Zealand avocado season - latest research proves they can make a vast improvement to overall health and wellbeing. As well as being a delicious addition to many meals, avocados are one of the most nutritionally complete foods in the world and new international research published in the Nutrition Journal* shows that people who regularly eat them weigh 3.4 kilograms less on average and have waistlines around four centimetres smaller, than those who don t. Avocado consumers also have significantly lower BMIs than non-consumers; significantly higher intakes of important nutrients (such as fibre, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and vitamin K), plus more good fats and a lower intake of added sugars. The findings of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in the United States, published in the Nutrition Journal, proved eating avocado every day boosted people s HDL ("good ) cholesterol levels and resulted in a 50 per cent less chance of metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors that occur together and increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke, and type-2 diabetes). Qualified dietician and nutritionist Nadia Lim is the official New Zealand Avocado ambassador and was a guest presenter at the recent New Zealand and Australian Avocado Growers Conference, held in Tauranga. Nadia says avocados are a perfect health conscious option for healthy, vibrant people who desire nutritious food that contributes positively to their overall health. "Avocados are a perfect food & they re abundant in valuable vitamins and minerals, as well as healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates. Nutritionists have long recommended consuming the healthy fats from avocados which are known to support improved overall diet quality, nutrient intake and heart health, she says. New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says "Avocados are incredibly nutritious and nourishing for the body and soul. If you like to get the most out of life then you should definitely include an avocado in your diet every day. "As part of a healthy, balanced diet, avocados are proving themselves time and again as a food that can help us all live healthier lives. This new research reinforces the importance of the food s role in our everyday diet, says Scoular. The American-based Hass Avocado Board (HAB) is continuing to invest millions of dollars in nutrition research on Hass Avocado & a fund which the New Zealand avocado industry has long contributed to & and has engaged top researchers and institutions to further investigate the fruit s health potential. HAB established a nutrition research programme in 2010 to increase awareness and improve understanding of the unique benefits of avocados to human health and nutrition. The four research pillars are heart health, weight management, diabetes and healthy living. *To read the overview from Nutrition Journal: http://www.avocadocentral.com/avocado-nutrition-center/nhanes-study For more information or images please contact: Midge Munro Communications Manager, New Zealand Avocado mmunro@nzavocado.co.nz 

Read More 22 Feb '13 New study indicates avocado consumption may be associated with better diet quality Photo

New study indicates avocado consumption may be associated with better diet quality

Positive health indicators also associated with avocado consumption IRVINE, Calif. (February 20, 2013) & New analysis of data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) , a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), indicates that consuming avocados may be associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake level, lower intake of added sugars, lower body weight, BMI and waist circumferences, higher "good cholesterol" levels and lower metabolic syndrome risk. These results were published in the January 2013 issue of Nutrition Journal. Specifically, the survey data (NHANES 2001-2008, 17,567 U.S. adults ages 19 years and older) revealed that the 347 adults (50% female) who consumed avocados in any amount during a 24-hour dietary recording period had several significantly better nutrient intake levels and more positive health indicators than those who did not consume avocados. Among the avocado consumers, average daily consumption was about one half (70.1 /- 5.4 g/day) of a medium sized avocado, somewhat higher in male avocado consumers (75.3 /-6.3 g/day) than females (66.7 /- 7.3 g/day). Overall Diet Quality, Energy and Nutrient Intakes According to the study, Avocado consumers more closely adhered to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans than those who did not eat avocados, as measured by the Healthy Eating Index (HEI). Avocado consumers had significantly higher intakes of certain important nutrients including 36% more dietary fiber, 23% more vitamin E, 13% more magnesium, 16% more potassium and 48% more vitamin K than non-consumers. Avocado consumers also had significantly higher intakes of "good" fats (18% more monounsaturated and 12% more polyunsaturated) and total fats (11% more) than non-consumers, although average caloric intake of both groups was the same. Avocado consumers and non-consumers had similar intakes of sodium. Physiological Health Measures  Avocado consumers had significantly lower BMI values than non-consumers. Avocado consumers had significantly smaller waist circumference measures than non-consumers (an average of 4 cm smaller). Avocado consumers weighed significantly less than non-consumers (an average of 7.5 pounds less). Avocado consumers had significantly higher HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. Metabolic Syndrome Risk The study found that Avocado consumers had a 50% lower odds ratio for metabolic syndrome compared to non-consumers. Metabolic syndrome is a name given to a group of risk factors which, when they occur together, increase the risk for coronary artery disease, stroke and type-2 diabetes. As with most analyses of NHANES data, research findings were based on cross-sectional data from a single 24-hour dietary recall (which may be inaccurate and biased due to misreporting and memory lapses) and cannot provide cause and effect evidence between avocado consumption and improvements in diet quality. "These findings suggest an interesting association between the consumption of avocados and better nutrient intakes and other positive outcomes," said study primary investigator Victor Fulgoni, PhD. "These observations were derived from population survey data, they provide important clues to better understanding the relationships between diet and health, and give direction to future research endeavors." "To this end, the Hass Avocado Board is funding additional clinical studies to investigate the relationship between fresh avocado consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease, avocados' potential positive role in weight management and diabetes, and avocados' ability to enhance nutrient absorption," said Hass Avocado Board Executive Director Emiliano Escobedo. ### For a free copy of the abstract or the full study visit: http://www.nutritionj.com/content/12/1/1 For additional information or free resources on avocado research, recipes, tips and photos visit the Hass Avocado Board web site at AvocadoCentral.com. About the Hass Avocado Board The Hass Avocado Board was established in 2002 to promote the consumption of Hass avocados in the United States. A 12-member board representing domestic producers and importers of Hass avocados directs HAB's promotion, research and information programs under supervision of the United States Department of Agriculture. Hass avocados are grown in California and imported into the US from Mexico, Chile, Peru, Dominican Republic and New Zealand. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/about_nhanes.htm. Accessed on January 31, 2013. Fulgoni VL, Dreher M and Davenport A. Avocado Consumption is Associated with Better Diet Quality and Nutrient Intake, and Lower Metabolic Syndrome Risk in US Adults: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008. Nutrition Journal. 2013; 12:1 (2 January 2013) United States Department of Agriculture. Healthy Eating Index. Available at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/healthyeatingindex.htm. Accessed on January 30, 2013. National Heart Blood and Lung Institute. What is Metabolic Syndrome? Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms/. Accessed on January 30, 2013.

Read More 31 Jan '13 Diet change works swiftly in reducing risk Photo

Diet change works swiftly in reducing risk

NZ Avocado contributed to the study detailed below through the provision of avocados to the participants throughout the trial. A study by Lynnette Ferguson, Professor of Nutrition at The University of Auckland, has shown that a change in diet can be effective in reducing inflammation over a period of just six weeks in healthy New Zealanders. The research has also shown that short-term studies with relatively small numbers of participants are capable of yielding robust research results, which has major implications for the cost of human clinical trials. "Inflammation, says Professor Ferguson, "can be the catalyst for chronic human diseases, including Alzheimer's, cardiovascular diseases and some cancers, as well as various autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's Disease and type 2 diabetes. "It has been established in many studies that this inflammation can be reduced through a diet which is high in long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, fruit and vegetables, nuts and whole grains, and is low in refined grains, saturated fats and sugars. "Many of these dietary components characterise the Mediterranean diet', which has been shown to protect against chronic disease. What Professor Ferguson set out to investigate was whether there was evidence of inflammation in apparently healthy New Zealanders and whether changing their diet for just six weeks would reduce this evidence. To do this she looked at bio-markers including the C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a standard marker for inflammation and can be measured through blood tests. Thirty healthy volunteers, selected for their initially "poor diets, were encouraged to cut out refined and processed foods and to follow a Mediterranean-type diet over the six weeks of the study, with increased amounts of fish, vegetables, unrefined cereals and "good fats such as olive oil and avocado. They were given some foods, including salmon (for one meal a week), and were provided with recipes for healthy eating. The biggest difference from a standard Mediterranean-style diet was the use of gluten-free foods. Participants, randomly assigned to high and lower-intervention groups, provided blood and urine samples at the beginning and end of the study, completed a four-day diary in the final days, and completed questionnaires about their diet and lifestyle, as well as attending workshops led by expert dieticians. "This was a small study, intended to be a pilot for a much larger study of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Crohn's Disease, but the results turned out to be highly statistically significant, says Professor Ferguson. "Overall average daily fat intake was considerably reduced, and much lower percentages of saturated fat were consumed. The self-reporting of volunteers was corroborated by the blood tests, which showed a corresponding reduction in the bio-markers for inflammation. It demonstrated that the high-intervention diet had altered gene expression within six weeks. "This is a remarkable result, says Professor Ferguson, "since it shows that average people, many of them young and with no health conditions, can, through an improvement in diet, significantly modify the biomarkers that indicate the risk that they could develop a chronic disease later. The larger research project for which this was a pilot or "proof of principle study is one which is examining the effect of a change to a Mediterranean-type diet (similar, though not identical, to that in the pilot study) on people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It has been established that there are several different genotypes characteristic of people suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and that each of those genotypes responds differently to particular types of diet or dietary items. The current research project is concentrating on those who have the most common genotype for the disease, though the ultimate aim is to formulate different diets tailored to the needs of the whole range of genotypes. Results are being analysed now and look "highly encouraging , says Professor Ferguson. The findings will be available in March.

Read More 22 Jan '13 Avocado Versatility Inspires Crowds At Annual Festival  Photo

Avocado Versatility Inspires Crowds At Annual Festival

TAURANGA, Monday 21st January 2013: Over 1500 avocados were devoured in Katikati this weekend as New Zealand's avocado capital celebrated the superfruit's health and versatility in style, breaking the record of avocados consumed at last year's festival. Celebrity Masterchef Nadia Lim headlined the 10th annual Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival at Uretara Domain on Saturday, and a huge crowd enjoyed avocado inspired mousse, ice cream and pizzas as well as cooking demonstrations and culinary competitions. New Zealand Avocado CEO, Jen Scoular, says a staggering number of avocados were peeled, sliced, diced and mashed on the day, and it was great to see so many people celebrating one of nature's most nutritious and delicious ingredients. NZ Avocado ambassador, Nadia Lim, and local celebrity chef, Peter Blakeway, both drew big crowds and taught people some exciting new ways to add good' fats to your diet and increase your heart health. "Nadia and Peter created a range of amazing avocado dishes and really opened people's eyes to the endless ways to enjoy avocados. Nadia created an Asian avocado and prawn salad while Peter wowed the crowd with a delicious roast chicken with avocado and mini chicken avocado pizzas, Scoular says. "Avocado lovers certainly picked up lots of new ideas and got to sample some delicious dishes, Scoular says. Free samples of avocado chocolate mousse proved extremely popular, and showed just how perfect this summer ingredient can be for desserts. An estimated 2000 people had the opportunity to relax in the sunshine, with bands performing throughout the day and six top wineries providing wine tastings, while guacamole lovers went head to head in a bid to create the best guacamole in Katikati. "Nadia and Peter had a hard time judging the winners, Scoular says. "It was great to see people creating the famous dip and infusing their own ideas. Children also competed for their share of the limelight, with avocado and spoon races and avocado art proving to be a big hit alongside more traditional fairground entertainment. Festival organiser David Crispin says this year's event, which was jointly run by the Pakeke and Katikati Lions clubs, will donate proceeds from the festival to the Cancer Society Lodge in Hamilton. For all of the delicious recipes created during the festival, including the guacamole competition winning recipe, visit http://www.nzavocado.co.nz/

Read More 20 Dec '12 Top Chefs Set To Serve Up Inspirational Treats At Avocado Festival Photo

Top Chefs Set To Serve Up Inspirational Treats At Avocado Festival

Thousands of foodies are expected to descend on the small Bay of Plenty town next month for the Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival, featuring celebrity Masterchef, Nadia Lim. Over 1000 avocados were consumed by avocado aficionados during the 2012 festival and the involvement of both avocado ambassador Nadia Lim and local chef Peter Blakeway is expected to send consumption at the 10th annual event through the roof. New Zealand Avocado CEO, Jen Scoular, says this dedicated festival is growing in popularity every year and is all about celebrating one of our most diverse ingredients as well as educating and inspiring avocado lovers to try new recipes at home. "Last year the industry produced a record avocado crop and New Zealanders had lots of opportunities to enjoy their extensive nutritional benefits. Nadia's cooking demonstrations will be one of the festival's highlights and will be a great opportunity for avocado lovers to pick up new ideas and sample some innovative dishes. Since the festival began in 2003, over $80,000 has been raised and donated to local charities. All proceeds from the 10th annual festival, run by the Pakeke and Katikati Lions clubs, will be donated to the Cancer Society Lodge in Hamilton. Festival organiser David Crispin says the festival is a wonderful summer's day out and is a real treat for foodies, with thousands of people expected to enjoy tasty avocado treats and entertainment with a glass of wine in hand. "This festival is a great family opportunity to relax in the sunshine, with bands performing throughout the day and six top wineries providing wine tastings. There is a wide variety of food available to purchase, plus the public can try their hand at making guacamole which will be judged by Nadia and Peter, says Crispin. Children will also be well catered for with plenty of entertainment and rides. Prizes are up for grabs in the avocado spoon races and avocado art will allow youngsters to create their own masterpieces by stamping painted avocado pieces onto paper. Nadia Lim is a qualified dietician and winner of Masterchef 2011 is the ambassador for New Zealand Avocado and will share her passion for the superfruit by educating Kiwis how they can use avocados in unique ways. The Katikati Avocado Food and Wine Festival will be held on Saturday 19th January 2013 at the Uretara Domain in Katikati from 12pm-6pm. Early bird tickets are $16 (plus booking fee) from http://www.iticket.co.nz/events/2013/jan/avocado-food-and-wine-festival-2013 Those under 18 years accompanied by a parent are free. For more information visit http://www.avofest.co.nz/.

Read More 04 Dec '12 Treat Your Tastebuds and Waistline With Avocados This Christmas Photo

Treat Your Tastebuds and Waistline With Avocados This Christmas

Many of us overeat during the holiday season but nutritionist, Angela Berrill, has some expert advice on how to treat your taste buds and look after your waistline this Christmas. Berrill has spent her career teaching people how to enjoy food while also nurturing their bodies and has recently been engaged by New Zealand Avocado this season to comment on the fruit's nutritional benefits. "Avocados are synonymous with summer and this Christmas you can enjoy a wide range of delicious dishes such as Nadia Lim's avocado, watermelon, pomegranate and feta salad. This extra special side salad is a fantastic addition to any festive feast, but will not leave you feeling guilty about having eaten the wrong sort of food, says Berrill. Berrill describes avocados as tummy-friendly' because they contain one of the highest fibre contents of any fruit in terms of both soluble and insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre helps to aid digestion and keeps you regular while soluble fibre helps to lower cholesterol. "Avocados are also a weight-friendly' food which is something many of us are thinking about at this time of year. As a lower fat alternative to traditional fat-based spreads such as butter or margarine, avocados are a great substitute for mayonnaise when you're putting together a tasty sandwich or summer salad. "Another important consideration for many New Zealanders is that because avocados contain good' monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid, they can help lower levels of bad' LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, making them great for heart health. The fats in avocado also help the body's absorption of fat-soluble nutrients, she says. Expectant mums can also benefit from the iron and fibre contained in avocados, while the fruit's high folate content will support the formation of a baby's neural tube. "Avocados are an ideal first food for young babies too. Being smooth and creamy in texture, they are easily tolerated and provide babies with a range of important nutrients for their development, adds Berrill. Berrill has previously acted as the nutrition adviser and expert for TV3's Target and regularly contributes to well-known publications such as Good Health magazine. "I'm passionate about educating people on the importance of diet. Avocados taste delicious but they're also a nutritionally dense food, containing many health-promoting nutrients and compounds for people of all ages, she explains. When planning a celebratory summer meal, remember that avocados do not need to be confined to a salad. Berrill says they're a versatile ingredient which can be used in smoothies, on toast, pizzas and omelettes and even in cakes and desserts. "Now is the perfect time of year to enjoy them, so add avocados to your next barbeque, summer lunch, dinner or Christmas meal, she concludes. >> Recipe: Avocado, watermelon, pomegranate and feta salad

Read More 23 Nov '12 Supercharge Your 5 Plus A Day Fruit And Vegetable Intake With Avocado Photo

Supercharge Your 5 Plus A Day Fruit And Vegetable Intake With Avocado

Kiwis are being urged to eat more avocados during November's 5 A Day Fruit and Vegetable Month because they help the body absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from other produce. New Zealand Avocado CEO, Jen Scoular, says avocado acts as a nutrient booster' and is one of the best choices people can make when increasing their fruit and vegetable intake. "Eating avocados promotes additional absorption of nutrients from those other foods as well. By eating avocado with other fruits and vegetables your body is better able to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from your meals, she explains. 5 A Day spokesperson, Carmel Ireland, says the objective of this year's 5 A Day Fruit and Vegetable Month is to challenge Kiwis to add an extra serving of fruit and vegetables to their daily diets to boost their overall health and shrink their waistlines. "In-season fresh fruit and vegetables, like avocados, are not only delicious and versatile but promote good health, protect against cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and can help with weight management, says Ireland. New Zealand Avocado is supporting the initiative by providing 5 A Day with free avocados and healthy avocado recipes to distribute during its month-long promotion. "The 5 A Day Charitable Trust does a fantastic job at highlighting how important fruit and vegetables are. The website (www.5aday.co.nz), Facebook page, Twitter and You Tube accounts will also feature fresh ideas about how to use avocados in the kitchen this summer, explains Scoular. Scoular says avocados are one of the most nutritionally complete foods on earth and there are many reasons why this super fruit' should be regularly eaten by people of all ages & including pregnant mothers, babies and the elderly. "Avocados are naturally cholesterol free, making them a heart-healthy addition to your diet. They can also help with weight management because they supply the body with good' monosaturated fats which contain oleic acid to activate the brain to make you feel full. Avocados are a versatile ingredient which can be used in all types of cooking & including smoothies, on toast, in salads, pizzas and omelettes and even in cakes and desserts. They are also the perfect substitute for butter, margarine or mayonnaise as they're tasty, salt-free, low in sugar, and full of fibre. "Avocados are a delicious and nutritious addition to every day cooking. They are full of vitamins and beneficial fats that will boost your overall health and well-being. The 5 A Day Fruit and Vegetable Month also coincides with the start of the avocado season so now's the perfect time to incorporate them into your diet, says Scoular.

Read More 01 Nov '12 Nadia Lim Celebrated As New Zealand Avocado Ambassador Photo

Nadia Lim Celebrated As New Zealand Avocado Ambassador

New Zealand Avocado is thrilled to announce that celebrity Masterchef Nadia Lim will become its ambassador for the 2012-13 avocado season which officially begins today. Lim will work alongside New Zealand Avocado to educate Kiwis on the many health benefits of avocados and how they can be used as an everyday ingredient to create nutritious and delicious meals and snacks. Since winning the New Zealand Masterchef title in 2011, the qualified dietician regularly contributes to Bite (NZ Herald), Food Magazine, the Healthy Food Guide, and has established her own popular website (www.nadialim.com). She is also working on a follow up to her acclaimed Nadia's Kitchen cookbook. New Zealand Avocado CEO Jen Scoular says having Lim positively endorse avocados and use them in her own recipes will bring enormous exposure to the avocado industry this summer. "Nadia is extremely talented and is very enthusiastic about being an ambassador for avocados. NZ Avocado is very excited to have someone of her calibre and profile on board. Scoular says November 1st also marks the start of 5 A Day Fruit and Vegetable month, where New Zealanders will be encouraged to increase their daily intake of produce such as avocados to improve their overall health. "By eating an avocado with other fruits and vegetables your body is better able to absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from your meals, Scoular says. "Avocados are considered to be nature's super fruit' because they help maintain healthy cholesterol levels, are full of vitamins and contain good' monounsaturated fats. They are extremely beneficial for people of all ages & including babies, pregnant mums and the elderly. Lim has developed four avocado recipes exclusively for New Zealand Avocado & two of which she will cook at the official avocado season launch held at Main Course in Auckland today, including an Asian avocado, prawn and orange salad. The celebrity Masterchef says avocado is one of the most simple, yet versatile ingredients you can use in the kitchen, and she hopes to encourage people to try new and delicious flavour combinations. "Avocados can be used in all types of cooking & from smoothies, to salads, on toast, pizzas, omelettes and even cakes and desserts. They're also a great substitute for butter, margarine and mayonnaise, Lim explains. "I personally love avocados and I've just recently returned from France where avocados avocat' are eaten regularly and feature daily on restaurant menus. More and more Kiwis are now discovering how healthy avocados are and my goal is to inspire people to try new recipes and incorporate this wonderful fruit into their everyday diet. Last season local avocado growers produced the largest crop in the history of avocado production in New Zealand. This season, New Zealand Avocado expects to supply the New Zealand market with 1 million 5.5kg trays. "New Zealand Avocado is a not-for-profit organisation and I'm really looking forward to supporting the work they do. Avocados are so good for you, they should be a staple food item in every Kiwi kitchen this summer, says Lim.

Read More 23 Oct '12 Nadia Lim Launches First Avocado Recipe as New Ambassador Photo

Nadia Lim Launches First Avocado Recipe as New Ambassador

New Zealand Avocado ambassador, Nadia Lim, is a master at serving up delicious, healthy food & and now she has created a sensational summer recipe for you to enjoy at home. The celebrity Masterchef says avocado is one of the most simple, yet versatile ingredients to create stunning, restaurant-quality meals that are as healthy as they are delicious. Lim is creating four special recipes on behalf of New Zealand Avocado to be released throughout the season. The first of which is a fresh Asian avocado, prawn and orange salad, which Nadia will be demonstrating at the official avocado season launch next month. "Avocados are truly one of nature's super heroes. There's a plentiful supply over summer, they're versatile and are packed full of nutrients and anti-oxidants. But most importantly, they taste absolutely delicious and are a great staple ingredient in any kitchen, says Lim. Since being crowned New Zealand's Masterchef in 2011, the qualified dietitian has worked to improve Kiwi's eating habits by creating healthy recipes. "Avocados are full of the good' monounsaturated fats which are essential for our health, the fact they taste delicious is a bonus, says Lim. >> Check out Nadia's recipe for Asian avocado, prawn and orange salad www.nadia.co.nz Photography by Kieran Scott

Read More 12 Oct '12 Now in Season - Avocado Reduces Fat Cravings and Inspires Healthy Hearts  Photo

Now in Season - Avocado Reduces Fat Cravings and Inspires Healthy Hearts

TAURANGA, Friday 12th October 2012: As the avocado season's harvest kicks off, the Heart Foundation Tick programme is urging Kiwis to eat more of the world's most nutritionally complete fruits this summer. The Heart Foundation Tick has joined forces with New Zealand Avocado to encourage people to ditch bad' fats and consume more good' fats like those found in avocados. More than half the total fat in avocado is made up of oleic acid, which provides unique health benefits similar to that of olives *. Oleic acid works by increasing the body's absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and antioxidants while activating the part of your brain that makes you feel full, meaning you may be less inclined to crave saturated and trans fats found in other foods **. Avocados contain a unique combination of essential fatty acids, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. This blend of benefits has earned the fruit many accolades including super fruit' status. Avocado has also been awarded the official Heart Foundation Tick', cementing it as an official smart and healthy food choice. Heart Foundation Tick manager Deb Sue says some New Zealanders think avocados are too high in fat so avoid eating them altogether. "In actual fact, monounsaturated fat is great for heart health and helps you maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Avocados are naturally cholesterol free, are packed full of nutrients and are an incredibly versatile food. Avocados are an ideal way of increasing your intake of 5 A Day fruit and vegetables and we would love to see New Zealanders eating more of them in place of foods with a lot of saturated fat, says Sue. "Avocados are really diverse and can be used in smoothies, salads, and by spreading avocado onto sandwiches instead of using butter, you can reduce your intake of cholesterol, saturated fat, and sodium. There are now over 1100 Tick approved products in New Zealand, all of which must go through rigorous independent testing to ensure they comply with strict nutritional criteria. This summer the Heart Foundation will include avocado recipes in its Tick Recipe Guide booklet and on-line at www.heartfoundation.org.nz. Avocados will also be promoted via the Tick Club' which has over 30,000 members nationwide. When choosing avocados, be mindful that green ones will be ready to eat in 7-10 days and can be kept in your fruit bowl to ripen naturally. Avocados with olive green skin will be ready in 2-3 days, while purple/brown ones are ripe and ready to eat. Ripe avocados can be refrigerated to extend their life a few more days but black avocados should be avoided as they're past their best. Meanwhile, New Zealand Avocado will support the Heart Foundation Tick programme this summer by supplying avocados at events and initiatives throughout the 2012-13 season. The New Zealand Avocado chief executive Jen Scoular says up to 2.9 million trays of Hass avocados are expected to be harvested between now and March for export and the domestic market. "Last season was a record crop and the favourable prices meant many people tried & and loved & avocados. There will be plenty of beautiful fruit in supermarkets this season for people to enjoy throughout the summer months, says Scoular. Avocados provide a wide range of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Eating them can help lower your cholesterol absorption, protect your liver, improve your skin and maintain a healthy weight and digestive system. "Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients. They taste absolutely delicious and are extremely versatile & you can use them in hot, cold, sweet or savoury dishes. We would definitely encourage people to be adventurous with avocados this summer and try something new. And there will be lots of fantastic new recipes around for inspiration, says Scoular. ENDS   * - http://www.besthealthmag.ca/eat-well/healthy-eating/5-reasons-to-eat-more-avocados   ** - http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=5

Read More 29 Mar '12 Avocados Under The Spotlight In Latest Medical Study Photo

Avocados Under The Spotlight In Latest Medical Study

TAURANGA, March 2012: A new pilot study which aims to investigate if the dietary habits of New Zealanders can be changed, will encourage participants to eat avocados and other specific foods every day to help reduce their risk of developing chronic diseases. Nutrigenomics New Zealand (a collaboration between AgResearch, Plant and Food Research and The University of Auckland) is asking a group of people aged 20 to 60 to change their diet for six weeks to incorporate foods rich in healthy fats such as avocado, along with fish and seafood, lean meat, fresh vegetables, legumes, beans, nuts and whole grains. It is thought a anti-inflammatory' diet such as this, could assist in reducing the chances people have of developing cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimer's as well cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological and autoimmune diseases. The study is being led by Auckland University's head of nutrition, Professor Lynnette Ferguson. It draws inspiration from the Mediterranean diet which relies heavily on the above foods and avoids processed food or items high in sugar, fat or white flour. "This sort of eating pattern is based on the traditional foods and lifestyle of individuals that border the Mediterranean Sea, including Greece, Spain, Italy and Turkey. Although the specific dietary guidelines that we are asking people to follow are not identical to this, they have a number of things in common, Professor Ferguson says. "In particular, we request that people eat at least seven servings of fresh fruit and vegetables, two or more servings of fish per week, and that their sources of fat are mainly from extra virgin olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. This pilot study is nearing completion. Nutrigenomics New Zealand will use the information gathered to gauge how feasible it is to get Kiwis to change their diet long enough to see changes in inflammation. Different levels of support, education, recipes and food was given to participants to establish how much intervention is needed to successfully get people to modify their diets. Blood and urine samples will also be taken before and afterwards to see if there is a change in people's inflammation profiles. . "We would like to use the outcomes of this study to then design a large scale study for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) patients who could benefit greatly from a diet like this. We ultimately wish to be able to provide dietary guidelines that will aid individuals suffering from the disease, Professor Ferguson explains. The Avocado Industry Council (AIC) supported Nutrigenomics New Zealand with avocados and recipes throughout the pilot study. AIC chief executive Jen Scoular says the industry is excited to see the results of the study as avocados have long been renowned for their health benefits. "The fats in avocados are classed as good fats' because they lower your cholesterol and are good for your heart. Eating at least some avocado every day will definitely make a difference to your overall health and wellbeing so hopefully the information and insights gained from this study will benefit all New Zealanders, Scoular says.

Read More 29 Jan '12 The green jewel in the Katikati crown Photo

The green jewel in the Katikati crown

Every year, a small town in the Bay of Plenty pays tribute to the humble avocado. Vicki Ravlich-Horan was there. Every January Katikati transforms from New Zealand's mural town to our avocado capital. Perfectly positioned in the Bay of Plenty, Katikati is a town bursting with gourmet delights. A quick look at their website, will show you that this town has it all, from salami to cheese makers, European bakers, wineries, seafood and orchards full of the everyday and the exotic. But in January the avocado is king. Organised by the local Pakeke Lions, the festival is in its ninth year. The mid-January festival is a great opportunity for holidaymakers to spend a day enjoying some local food and wine and perhaps learning a bit more about avocados. So this summer we put it on our must-do list. I've heard a lot about the local Plant and Produce Market, held every Friday from 4pm-6pm, so we decided to go a day early and stay the night. Half an hour before reaching Katikati, we stopped at Waitete Cafe and Restaurant in Waihi, for a late lunch. Chef and owner Roland Straessle is the perfect host. Classically trained and with over 40 years of cooking under his belt, Roland's passion for great food still shines through. As usual we have taken too much time over lunch and I am afraid we will be late for the market. I have been told there is a young chap who makes the best chocolate brownies but you need to get in quick, because he sells out fast. We arrive just before 4pm and already a crowd is forming waiting to get in. That's right, no queue-jumping here, the market starts at 4pm on the dot. With a glass of homemade lemonade in hand we wonder around the stalls admiring the beautiful selection of fresh produce. Unfortunately there are no chocolate brownies today. There is, however, a big line forming in front of the Breadnz stand, where Megan and Henri are selling their beautiful range of sourdough and wood-fired pizzas. We decide to grab a loaf, along with some Mt Eliza cheese, local homemade pickles from Kaimai Country and some salad goodies. After a quick stop at Finer Wines on the main street, where the owner Jim recommends a great drop, we have accumulated the perfect summer dinner. We wake on Saturday to a mixed bag weather-wise but optimistically pack the sunblock, hats and umbrellas and head to the avocado festival. The majority of New Zealand's avocados are grown in the Bay of Plenty and this season has seen New Zealand's biggest ever crop, so I'm keen to get some great ideas on what to do with this healthy and plentiful fruit. We watch kids make avocado faces, guacamole-making competitions and an avocado cooking demonstration by local chef Peter Blakeway. We learn how to tell if an avocado is ripe without squeezing it (a big no-no). We try avocado icecream, oil, smoothies and guacamole. There are plenty of other things to see and try with local wineries and producers all here, but we came for the avocados. And when I am all avocado-ed out, it's time to relax on a blanket with a glass of wine in hand and Rhythm Express playing in the background. Essential info * avofest.co.nz * katikaticuisine.com * Waitete Cafe and Restaurant: Open seven days, 31 Orchard Rd, Waihi * Katikati Plant and Produce Market: Friday 4pm-6pm at the A&P Showgrounds, Main Rd, Katikati * Finer Wines: 8 Main Rd, Katikati Source: NZ Herald

Read More 25 Jan '12 Nutritious lunches with fruit, veg Photo

Nutritious lunches with fruit, veg

School lunches provide a great opportunity to work more fruit and vegetables into your child's diet, giving the energy and nutrients they need to get the most out of their learning day - and that goes for adult lunches as well. Nutritionist and 5 A Day advocate Claire Turnbull offers suggestions for making packed lunches interesting and flavourful with fruit and vegetables. While children may be reluctant to eat whole pieces of fruit, they love food they can eat with their fingers. Choose colourful fruit and vegetables and chop them up into bite-sized pieces that can be stored in small containers or slipped into sandwiches and wraps. Incorporating fruit and vegetables into lunches doesn't need to be a covert operation. Small children love to help Mum and Dad in the kitchen and they are more likely to eat lunches they have helped make. It's also a great way to teach them how to make healthy choices. To keep lunches nice and cool, particularly during the warmer months of the year, Claire recommends using a chilly block and putting it at the bottom of your child's lunchbox or bag. To make a chilly block, freeze a small bottle of water and add to the box to keep it chilled or use a store-bought chilly block placed in the freezer the night before. Spread avocado on sandwiches instead of butter Prepare sliced cucumber, lettuce, sprouts, tomato wedges and grated carrots for your family to make their own wraps, sandwiches and subs. If you take them in a container and put your sandwich or wrap together at work or school, it prevents the sandwich getting soggy. Mix chopped fruit such as kiwifruit, apples, pears and oranges with low-fat yoghurt. Young children tend to eat more fruit when it is chopped up For a change use wholegrain pita, naan, bagels or tortilla wraps instead of bread. For more information visit www.5aday.co.nz Five of the best Here are five tasty and healthy lunchbox ideas: 1FOR a nutritious packed lunch try egg and lettuce wholemeal sandwiches cut into triangles for fun and easy handling. Pack a low-fat yoghurt and a small banana - try drawing a face on the skin for added fun! 2 For a delicious and healthy alternative to sandwiches, try a potato frittata wedge packed with chopped courgette, onion, corn, spinach, mushroom and/or tomato - anything goes in this great lunch option. Pop chunks of cheese and cherry tomatoes in a small container for added protein, vitamins and minerals. A home-made mini banana bran muffin adds extra fibre to this lunchbox and makes it a great filling snack so the children don't run out of steam before the day is out. Add a piece of fruit to round out the nutrition content. 3 Children love pizza! Leftover home-made pizza slices with their favourite vegetables such as mushrooms, tomato, baby spinach, corn, courgette and onion are a great way of getting a few extra vegetables in at lunchtime. Making a wholemeal pizza base will add a little more fibre, keeping children fuller for longer. Add a small container of berries and grapes. Cucumber sticks make a fresh, healthy addition to this lunchbox combo. 4 Sushi with tuna and avocado along with a handful of carrot sticks makes a tasty lunch providing carbohydrate and a good vitamin boost. Add strawberries or apple slices for a nutrition boost. 5 A wholemeal roll or wrap with ham and cheese, lettuce, grated carrot and cucumber makes a tasty protein-packed lunchbox staple and is a fantastic way of adding more vegtables. You can include sliced tomato in a small snap-lock bag so the children can add it at lunchtime - this stops the roll going soggy. A pottle of chopped fruit in juice makes a good alternative to fresh fruit. Source: 5 A Day

Read More 25 Jan '12 Avocado - the new star of the kitchen Photo

Avocado - the new star of the kitchen

It wasn't so long ago that avocado was typically hidden beneath seafood and lettuce in a mayonnaise-drenched prawn cocktail. Today, this oval fruit that means "ahuacatl" or testicle in the Aztec language can be served in so many ways that it's tipped to become a culinary star. Originating from South America, the avocado wasn't truly discovered in the Western world until 50 years ago, but it's now dubbed one of our superfruits and the only fresh fruit wearing the Heart Foundation tick. Packed with fibre, iron, Vitamin C, folate, Vitamin B6 and potassium, the avocado also helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels as it is rich in monosaturated fat. At the recent Katikati Food and Wine Festival, avocado promoters were handing out avocado smoothies and chef Peter Blakeway was serving avocado turkey stuffing and avocado icecream. Blakeway lives in Bay of Plenty, where three-quarters of our 1500 avocado growers reside, and he has whipped up unique ways of using avocados, everything from avocado and chocolate truffles to curried tomatoes and avocado. Avocado Growers Association communications manager Midge Munro says that while we have had a healthy avocado industry for the past three decades, "I think we're still discovering the avocado. People still don't know what to do with it and that you can use it in a variety of ways. People are shocked that you can drink it. It has one of the highest concentrations of folate so it's brilliant for pregnant women, and also really helpful for men with fertility issues." Those who claim it has medicinal benefits also state "the avocado contains amino acids, especially one called glutathione, a powerful antioxidant. Increasing the body's production of glutathione inhibits the progression of the ageing process" - but there's no mention of how many avocados must be devoured before glutathione production stops any wrinkles and sag. In New Zealand, two types of avocado are grown here but only the Hass variety is commercially available. The Hass avocado - the nubbly skinned variety where the skin blackens as the fruit ripens - grows well in our climate. Boasting dense fruit with a nutty taste and smooth texture, it is most plentiful from October through to March, when it is cheaper too. The reed avocado is round and stays green throughout its February to June growing season, and is less plentiful here. Food writer Julie Biuso has created twists on old favourites in her book Never-Ending Summer. Coconut-Avocado Ice Cream by Peter Blakeway A soft blender icecream made without eggs. 500ml milk 300ml coconut cream 150g white sugar 3 avocados, peeled and pitted 1 tsp lemon juice Blitz all of the above in a blender until very smooth, cover and refrigerate until cold. Freeze in an ice- cream machine according to manufacturer's directions, then decant to a covered container and place in the freezer. When ready to serve place in a refrigerator for about 10 minutes to allow the mixture to soften to "spoonable". Avocados and Prawns with Lime and Tomato Salsa by Julie Biuso 2 medium-sized vine tomatoes 3 Tbsp extra virgin avocado olive oil 1 Tbsp lime juice 4 kaffir lime leaves, centre ribs removed, finely shredded 1 spring onion (white and pale green part only), trimmed and finely chopped 1 fresh hot red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely chopped 1/2 tsp salt 12 medium-sized green (raw) prawns, fresh or frozen 1/4 tsp ground turmeric 1/4 tsp ground cumin 2 ripe but firm avocados Olive oil for hot plate To make the salsa plunge tomatoes into a saucepan of gently boiling water and count to 10, then use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a bowl of cold water and slip off the skins. Cut into quarters, remove cores and flick out seeds. Dice flesh finely but don't add to salsa until just before serving. Whisk together avocado or olive oil, lime juice, lime leaves, spring onion, chilli and salt. Prawns: If prawns are frozen, thaw them quickly in a sealed plastic bag immersed in a sink of warm water. Twist off their heads, then peel off shells, leaving the small piece of shell on the tail intact. Using a small sharp knife, slice down the back of each prawn and gently extract the red or black vein. Rinse prawns and pat dry with paper towels. Put turmeric and cumin on a plate and rub the spices over prawns. Halve avocados, remove the stones and place halves on serving plates. Cook prawns on a preheated oiled barbecue hot plate over medium heat for a few minutes each side until they change colour. Alternatively, cook prawns indoors in a hot ridged grill pan in 1 tablespoon of hot avocado or olive oil. To serve, add tomatoes to salsa ingredients and spoon into the cavities of the avocados. Arrange prawns on top and serve immediately. Also delicious on toasted ciabatta. Avocado Smoothie by the NZ Avocado Growers' Association Half a ripe avocado One banana One cup of trim milk One tablespoon of honey Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Serves two. Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/capital-life/in-the-kitchen/6306547/Avocado-the-new-star-of-the-kitchen

Read More 12 Nov '11 Adding an avo a super healthy taste treat Photo

Adding an avo a super healthy taste treat

We are right in the throes of a bumper crop of New Zealand-grown avocados. The picking season has begun with 5.8 million trays expected to be available. The size of the crop is also well reflected in the current price for the fruit. An estimate of the current crop suggests it is 20 per cent larger in volume than ever before and nearly double the 2010-2011 volumes. This will mean plenty of packed-full-of-goodness avocados for every age. With such an abundance of avocados we no longer need to take them for granted. The soft, smooth and creamy texture can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Avocados are not only tasty and satisfying on the palate, but they're also one of the most nutritionally complete fruits in the world. With more than 40 per cent of us now following advice and enjoying 5 a day, "add an avo" to your meal to increase the percentage. Avocados are packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They contain good mono-unsaturated fat, they're cholesterol-free, are a good source of fibre and brilliant for your skin. The "Add an Avo" campaign has been tried in Australia and was extremely successful. Run by the NZ Avocado Growers' Association, it is aimed at highlighting health and nutritional benefits as well as raising awareness about how to choose, handle and store avocados. With today's demanding schedules, late night events and little time to make nutritious dinners, avocados are an ideal way to ensure you're getting essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and healthy fats. It may be as simple and delicious as slicing your avo onto toast, into a salad, adding to scrambled eggs or blending it up into a smoothie. Whether as a first food for babies (blended) or for making guacamole, avocados have a multitude of tasty and healthy uses & even as a face mask. There are many myths in New Zealand about how to choose, store and ripen avocadoes, and even how to cook with them. It's probably because avocados didn't feature highly in our grandmothers' kitchens. Here are a few quick tips and tricks to dispel the myths. Things you should know about avocados:   The Guinness Book of World Records lists avocados as the most nutritionally complete fruit. Avocados can be used in warm dishes & try stirring cubed avocado through cooked pasta. They contain essential fatty acids, which can help to reduce cholesterol deposits. Avocados are a perfect first food for babies going on to solids. Avocados contain more potassium per serve than bananas. There are more than 500 varieties of avocado & Hass is the most common commercial variety grown in New Zealand. You can freeze freshly mashed ripe avocados if you want to have an "emergency supply" of avocados on hand for guacamole.Tips to choosing, ripening and storing your avocados: Never squeeze an avocado & you are damaging it. Choose based on colour: bright green = not ripe, olive green = 2-3 days to go, brown green = good for slicing and dicing, brown = good for mashing. Do not choose a black avocado & it is past its best. Ripen avocados by placing them in your fruit bowl. Once ripe, avocados will store in the fridge for a few days. Leftover avocado can be kept in the fridge by squeezing lemon juice over the exposed area and wrapping in cling film. If a brown layer forms, simply scrape off.Ways to use avocados quickly: Mash up on toast with tomato and feta cheese. Stir cubed avocado through an omelette with tomato and cheese. Top a cooked pizza with slices of avocado. Use in mashed potato in place of butter. Top grilled chicken with diced avocado and crumbled feta. Remember when purchasing avocados to buy early and use late.     CORN FRITTERS WITH CRISPY BACON AND AVOCADO SALAD (serves 4) Ingredients (A basic fritter recipe & you may wish to add or subtract other vegetables such as carrots, courgettes, mushrooms etc) 2 free range eggs 2 cups buttermilk (1 cup of milk and 1 cup of cream if buttermilk unavailable) 2 cups self-rising flour 1 400g tin whole kernel corn 1 400g tin creamed corn 2 Tbsp chopped spring onions 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste salad greens such as mesclun mix 8 rashers of crisp belly bacon 2 fresh ripe Hass avocados 1 tsp lemon juice 1 Tbsp lime-infused avocado oil Method: Break the eggs into a good-sized bowl and whisk with a fork.Add the butter, milk and flour and lightly mix to a lumpy batter. Add the whole kernel corn, creamed corn, spring onions, parsley. Again lightly mix with the fork and season with the sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Take care not to over-mix the batter as this will cause the fritters to toughen. Heat a little avocado oil in a heavy based pan and cook the batter into your chosen sized fritters. Cook on the first side until lightly browned and well set and then turn over and continue cooking until they are lightly firm to the touch. Place on the serving plates and top with crisp belly bacon, the salad and the fresh avocados. Drizzle with lemon juice and avocado oil. Source: http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/life-style/5963244/Adding-an-avo-a-super-healthy-taste-treat - © Fairfax NZ News

Read More 25 Oct '11 Tasty Trio of Goodness Photo

Tasty Trio of Goodness

The tasty trio of asparagus, avocados and spinach tops my list of favourite greens. And given their ready availability and price, now is the time to savour them. From its first cultivation in Greece, asparagus has played a key role in traditional folk medicine and has been used as a tonic, a sedative and also as a treatment for neuritis and rheumatism. Of course, it was inevitable, given its shape, that asparagus should be treated - in times past - as an aphrodisiac. However, in speculating on the alleged effect of asparagus on humans, writers have overlooked the sex life of asparagus itself. Although asparagus usually produces male flowers on some plants and female on others, it occasionally produces hermaphroditic blossoms, of which both pistils and stamens are functional. Asparagus is best cooked the same day it's bought, but will keep tightly wrapped in damp paper towels for three to four days in the refrigerator. Avocados are plentiful and are perfect partners for asparagus. Avocados are healthy, with 50 per cent more potassium than bananas and a range of vitamins including carotene, seven of the eight B vitamins, vitamins C and E. They also contain other minerals in small amounts. Cholesterol-free, they contain only 5g of fat per serving, most of it the good-for-you mono-unsaturated kind. I prefer to eat avocados raw. When cooked, the heat affects the oils causing an unpleasant off-flavour. Add avocados to hot foods at the last minute and away from the source of heat. If stuffing and baking, combine cold avocado with the hot food and return it to the shell. Place briefly under a grill, to brown the top. Spinach was made famous by Popeye the sailor, a comic strip and cartoon character who became much stronger after eating the vegetable. The belief that spinach enhances strength is largely the result of the iron content being mistakenly reported in the 1930s as 10 times the actual amount. However, research indicates spinach may help to prevent a variety of diseases, including cancer and cataracts. It makes a delicious crunchy salad but it is also great in stir-fries or pasta dishes. Recipes SHAVED ASPARAGUS SALAD WITH AVOCADO Great starter or accompaniment. 8 thick but tender asparagus spears Juice 1 lemon (2 and 1/2 tbsp) 1 clove garlic, crushed 1/4 cup each: finely grated parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil Flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 medium avocados 8 mint leaves Snap ends off asparagus. With a vegetable peeler, shave asparagus into ribbons into a bowl. Whisk lemon juice, garlic and parmesan in a small bowl then whisk in olive oil. Drizzle 1-2 tablespoons over asparagus and toss. Halve, stone and peel the avocados. Slice each half into four. Fan on to four serving plates. Top with shaved asparagus and mint leaves. Drizzle with more dressing. Serves 4. CREAMY SPINACH SALAD This makes an excellent light lunch served with crisp rolls. Blanched asparagus or sliced avocado could be added. 4 large rashers bacon 1/3 cup good mayonnaise 2 tbsp each: plain yoghurt, white wine vinegar 1 tbsp caster sugar 130g baby spinach leaves 1 small red onion, thinly sliced Pan-fry, grill or microwave bacon until crisp. Combine mayonnaise, yoghurt, white-wine vinegar and sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Put spinach in a salad bowl. Top with onion rings. Crumble bacon on top. Toss together with dressing. Serves 4. GRILLED ASPARAGUS WITH AIOLI Aioli: 3 plump cloves garlic, peeled 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten Salt and white pepper to taste 1 and 1/2 tbsp lemon juice 1 tsp Dijon-style mustard 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil Asparagus: 500g asparagus, trimmed 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 red chilli, seeded and diced Freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 tbsp sliced flat-leaf parsley Place garlic, egg yolk, salt, pepper, lemon juice and mustard in a mini food processor or use a wand blender and mix until smooth. (Add a dash of saffron or turmeric for colour, if preferred.) With the motor running, slowly drizzle in oil steadily, until thick. Makes about one cup and will keep in the refrigerator for several days. Set grill to medium-high. Toss asparagus with oil in a large roasting dish. Sprinkle with chilli and pepper. Grill asparagus until crisp-tender, about five minutes, turning occasionally during cooking. Transfer to a platter. Drizzle aioli over the asparagus and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4. AVOCADO WITH ASIAN NOODLES Add prawns or diced chicken to make a complete meal. 100g thin, dried rice noodles 2 tsp each: sesame oil, rice bran oil, grated root ginger 2 cloves garlic, crushed 1 tbsp each: light soy sauce, hoisin sauce 2 spring onions, diagonally sliced 1 large avocado, halved, stoned, peeled and cubed 1/2 cup coriander leaves Prepare noodles according to packet instructions. Drain well. Cut into smaller pieces if preferred. Heat oils in a wok or frying pan. Add ginger and garlic and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Stir in noodles, soy sauce and hoisin sauce, ensuring noodles are coated evenly. Add spring onions, stir-frying for one minute. Fold in the avocado and coriander. Serves 4 as an accompaniment. Source: http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/tasty-trio-of-goodness/1141598/

Read More 15 Oct '11 Green with envy over avo glut Photo

Green with envy over avo glut

The executive chef of dine by Peter Gordon at SkyCity answers your cuisine questions. I am hearing already that there is going to be a bumper avocado crop this season. I have plenty of ideas for using fresh avocados, but would love to have them on hand all year around. Cooked avos are horrible, but do you have any ideas for how I could freeze or preserve or process them to keep them? Or is it something that really is only seasonal? - Sally What a lovely problem that's going to be - I dream of such worries and in fact today I ate some avocado on toast with a poached egg and basil, and coriander cress sprinkled on top at private members club Shoreditch House. Not quite as nice as Miles Kirby's avocado on wholegrain toast at Caravan cafe in Clerkenwell, but still ... I agree with your cooked avocados, and am yet to see anything good about them or taste anything fanciable. However they are useful in cooking, and I have had a lovely chilled soup made by sauteing till softened (before puréeing and cooling) 1 medium leek, 1 clove garlic, 2 teaspoons grated ginger, 500g golden kumara and spices (try chilli flakes, a little cinnamon, fresh ginger). Once chilled mix in 800g puréed avocado, 400ml unsweetened coconut milk and season to taste. It'll be thick and rich and is best served as small portions. Garnish with a red capsicum and red onion salsa with plenty of lime juice, grated zest and shredded coriander, mint or basil leaves mixed in. I also make a lovely sorbet from equal quantities (near enough) of mango and avocado flesh. Add sugar syrup or runny honey to taste and 50ml lime or lemon juice to every 500ml purée - adjust the taste to suit yourself. Churn as you would an ice cream and if it's a little icy then next time add a little more sugar syrup or a shot or three of golden Stolen Rum. It is also great used as a salsa - dice the flesh and mix with thinly sliced spring onions, lime or lemon juice, chopped fresh red or green chillies to taste, the kernels of boiled or grilled sweetcorn, and lots of shredded herbs such as coriander, basil, tarragon or minced lemongrass - serve this over grilled fish or chicken. I was cutting up an avocado recently and a friend was mesmerised as he'd never done it the same way. Cut the fruit in half lengthways and twist open. Firmly but carefully clunk a knife into the stone and twist to remove - but be careful as it's potentially slippery. Holding the halved fruit flesh facing up, and using a round nosed knife, such as you'd butter your bread with, cut the flesh into dice but keeping the flesh intact. Then simply use a dessertspoon to scoop out the flesh into diced pieces. So easy and no mess on the chopping board to clean up. Hass avocados are ripe to use when they are brown-green, or can be used soft-ripe when they are dark brown (black means they are past their best). Source: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10758719

Read More 29 Sep '11 New avocado awareness campaign coincides with bumper season Photo

New avocado awareness campaign coincides with bumper season

A new campaign has launched to encourage us all to Add An Avo to our daily diet. The Add An Avo campaign is being run by the NZ Avocado Growers Association, the not-for-profit body that looks after the country s avocado growers. The campaign coincides with the start of Hass avocado season, which is set to be the biggest avocado season New Zealand s ever seen. "We re estimating a crop 20% larger in volume than we ve ever had before and nearly double our 2010-2011 volumes. This means plenty of beautiful fruit, packed full of goodness for every age, explains chief executive of the NZ Avocado Growers Association, Jen Scoular. Soft, smooth, creamy and loved by adults and children alike, avocados are not only tasty and satisfying on the palate, but they re also one of the most nutritionally complete fruits in the world. Avocados are packed full of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. The campaign is aimed at highlighting these health and nutritional benefits. NZ Avocado Growers Association also wants to raise awareness about how to choose, handle and store avocados, as well as how to enjoy them, with various recipe offerings and information packs. "We have such an abundance of avocados in New Zealand, we often take them for granted. Part of our campaign will address some common misconceptions and myths about how to tell when an avocado is ripe and how to ripen them at home. What we want to do is remind people of their incredible richness, versatility and health benefits and also to offer advice about how to choose an avocado in the supermarket, says Scoular. With today s demanding schedules, late night events and little time to make nutritious dinners, avocados are an ideal way to ensure you re getting essential vitamins, minerals, nutrients and healthy fats. "Eating an avocado can be as simple and delicious as slicing it onto toast, into a salad, or blending it up into a smoothie. They are an ideal on the run food, says Scoular. From creating a face mask for beautiful skin and complexion results, blending as a first food for babies, making guacamole, or blitzing up a super smoothie, avocados have a multitude of tasty and healthy uses. Avocados are a treasure trove of nutrients. They are naturally cholesterol-free and contain good monounsaturated fat, which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. By the same token they are also a good source of fibre, which helps to maintain a healthy digestive system and is important in the control of weight. A source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, avocados are also great for skin and anti-aging. They contain folic acid and other vitamins including E, which is brilliant for skin, B6, which releases energy from food and promotes a healthy nervous system, and iron, important for brain function, immunity and the formation of red blood cells. "Avocados are an amazing fruit and we re looking forward to sharing recipes and lots of information about their importance in your daily diet over this bumper season, says Scoular. About NZ Avocado Growers Association and Avocado Industry Council. The New Zealand avocado industry is the third largest fresh fruit export from New Zealand with exports last year (2010-11) totalling $67m. The 2011-12 season will see the industry produce its biggest crop ever at 5.4 & 5.8 million trays (31,900 tonnes), which represents a jump of just under one million trays from the previous biggest season. The NZ Avocado Growers Association (NZAGA) and Avocado Industry Council  (AIC) work with the New Zealand industry to set export standards, facilitate market access, promote New Zealand avocados and provide technical information to all New Zealand growers of which there are over 1600 based mainly in the Bay of Plenty and Northland. Source: http://www.foodnews.co.nz/23045/new-avocado-awareness-campaign-coincides-with-nz-bumper-season/