Avocados (Persea Americana) are smooth-fleshed, subtly-flavoured fruits that are native to Mexico and Central America. Avocado trees thrive in warm, frost-free climates, and are also grown in locations such as South Africa, California and Australia. In recent years, the popularity and consumption of avocados has risen around the world. They are most commonly used in guacamole, salads, desserts and smoothies.
As well as being versatile and delicious, avocados are also nutrient dense and are considered by many people to be super-fruits. They contain high levels of monounsaturated fats; omega 3,6 and 9 fatty acids; soluble and insoluble dietary fibre; antioxidants; potassium; beta-sitosterol; and key vitamins and minerals.
While exploring the Ecuador pavilion (Pro Ecuador) at the Summer Fancy Food Show at New York City’s Jacob Javits Center, I discovered an Ecuadorean family farm and producer of avocado-derived products called Uyama Farms. The farm is based in the Carchi province of Northern Ecuador at an altitude of 1900 metres above sea level. Climatically, the region has an equatorial micro-climate of a single season of spring-like weather and long hours of sunshine. Hence, Uyama Farms is well-suited to the year-round cultivation and harvest of avocados.
Uyama Farms use their avocados to produce several varieties of cold pressed, extra virgin avocado oils under the brand name MIRA. Produced via the process of centrifuging the flesh of ripened, peeled, and stoned Hass and Fuerte avocados, the resulting avocado oil retains the health benefits of its source fruits. Also, having a high smoke point and clean, mild flavour, avocado oil works well both to cook with, and in salad dressings and pestos.
Uyama Farms General Manager, Maria Clara (Kaya) Dávalos, took time out of her busy schedule at the show and spoke to me about the farm and the oils that they produce. You can hear the interview by clicking on the play button below.