Former county Supervisor Bill Coy is living the good life passionately perfecting the perfect fruit, the California Hass avocado, and singing its praises before and after it goes to market.
And then there are the other varieties Coy grows on his Cayucos Cottontail Ranch: the Bacon, Fuerte, Reed, Nepal and Queen.
“The creamy, velvety, smooth fruit is rich in oil and very nutritious because California avocados hang on the trees longer,” said Coy about his abundant 2010 crop of avocados. He also grows oranges.
“I love this. To me it gives back. When I’m not pruning the trees from 40-to-50 feet to 16-to-18 feet for best picking, checking the crews, who just harvested trees laden with fruit, or fixing the drip irrigation lines, I’m working in our garden.”
And for sustenance he’ll enjoy a Reed avocado stuffed with albacore or simply garnish a Bacon avocado with lemon and seasoning. His wife, Anne, has enticing recipes such as avocado pie and Thanksgiving hot sauce avocado bowls.
Coy’s father-in-law, Bob Blanchard, recruited him from a J.C. Penney Co. corporate marketing career.
In the late 1960s, Blanchard was the first county grower to test citrus — kiwis and oranges, as well as avocados. When Coy and Anne vacationed from San Francisco, Blanchard noticed Coy loved working the land. The rest was history. In the ’80s, Coy self-planted the trees he lovingly tends.
“California has 6,000 growers harvesting 60,000 acres. The Central Coast has 120 growers with 4,500 acres producing,” Coy said. “Most grow about 40 acres. Stallers and Righettis are over 200. Our Mediterranean climate is perfect to hold the fruit longer. This year, I had to pick early. A huge crop — they’re falling off the trees and ripening fast.”
Coy explained there are always two crops on a tree. They usually produce every other year, but if the weather cooperates, he sees another good year in 2011.
After several years of too hot, windy, wet or even freezing conditions, the Central Coast growers needed a few good years.
As a marketing guy, Coy is pumped about the avocado’s future. Grocers are learning how to merchandise. Consumers now get it. They love the avocado for more than guacamole.
“In 1993, most people feared avocados produced high cholesterol. In 2010, they understand avocados are nutritious,” Coy said. “Saturday at the Avocado Festival, ask Bob Staller, Ernie Righetti, Arby Kitzman or me at the California Avocado Commission’s booth. We’ll show you the many benefits of avocados.”
Find recipes, chef or grower profiles at www.avocado.org or show up for the Avocado and Margarita Festival produced by the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce all day Saturday across from Rose’s Landing.
Reach Judy at 801-1422 or firstname.lastname@example.org.