California Avocado Commission Hosts Exclusive California Avocado Grove Open House; Jan DeLyser Shares
VALLEY CENTER, CA - What if shopping for avocados took your customers to winding country roads canopied with lush trees and ruby blossoms? Could shaking the hand of a grower prime them to seek a certain sticker on the items in your produce department?
This is what the California Avocado Commission (CAC) strives to do with events like May 14’s California Avocado Grove Open House in Valley Center, California.
“Being able to experience first-hand what a California avocado grove is like helps educate our guests about the care California avocado growers put into their land, nurturing the trees, and protecting the environment,” Jan DeLyser, the Commission’s Vice President of Marketing, shared with me.
She went on to note what goes into an event like this.
“What we do varies by event, but usually guests also get to experience what it takes to harvest an avocado, and we showcase delicious dishes starring California avocados," she explained. "Attendees then have first-hand knowledge to share with their readers, viewers, fans, patients, and customers. That’s our motivation in doing in-person events like our recent grove open house.”
For the most recent event, a kick-off celebrating the 10th anniversary of California Avocado Month, guests were welcomed to a true open house with a come-as-you-are feel, a delicious spread of avocado-forward morsels, and stations to peruse to learn and experience this fruit even more. The Commission saw a steady stream of visitors of both the business and consumer sides, including retailers and social influencers, as invitees enjoyed a Saturday afternoon in the green, rolling grove.
Stations were set up around a perimeter of lawn that separated two spans of trees. Ranging from demonstrations on grafting, harvesting, and easily prepping avocados—including how to make your very own avocado rose—to practical education like a packinghouse video station and a conversation on the CAC community’s efforts and successes in sustainability, no stone was left unturned. And all the while, experts at each stage were open to questions and discussions that left just as much an impression as the experience itself.
I spent a Saturday not only surrounded by beauty and sunshine, but walked away with pockets full of California avocados and new ways to cut and serve them. I couldn’t wait to relay to my husband how one variety’s texture might be better for smoothies while another’s would be better for our salsas. I had seen through the eyes of a member of our industry, but walked away with the enthusiasm of a consumer.
And isn’t that what we are all looking for in a sales pitch?
As we find our way back out into the social world, I, for one, would love to see more industry soirées that bring us back to what we do on the business side while lifting the curtain more for consumers, nurturing connections that last from the groves and fields to the cash register.