As Black Friday retail and online deals lure us to make those holiday purchases, local alternatives can offer thoughtful, affordable gifts.
Many of those alternatives will be showcased at Morro Bay’s holiday merchant fair on Sunday at Main Street and Morro Bay Boulevard.
For example, Morro Creek Ranch grows and sells “heart healthy” avocado products — the fruit, nongreasy skin cream, seasoning with no salt or sugar, and multiuse avocado oil. The ranch’s La Palapa Country Store, at the ranch entrance off Highway 41 east of Morro Bay, is open daily. For shipping, check out http://www.morrocreekranch.com for package deals.
Sheela Remington coordinates online sales.
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“Avocados are the healthiest food we can eat. Dr. Oz said avocados are the No. 1 food for a healthy liver and we should eat three a week. They are free from trans fats, cholesterol and sodium. I love to cook, so I create new recipes. I’m working on avocado mayonnaise,” she said.
She said Morro Creek Ranch was established in 1978 by Bob and Luba Staller. Alan Cavaletto is the general manager with 13 year-round staff members. The store manager is Cindy Piper.
“She knows everything you want to know about avocados,” Remington said.
Their recently completed harvest yielded more than 2.5 tons of avocados with 27,000 trees in production. The Hass avocados are shipped to California packers who distribute worldwide. The other varieties are sold to area restaurants, sushi bars and stores.
“As long as they stay on the trees they don’t ripen,” Remington said. “Gift pack avocados are picked daily. We want them to arrive within three days and plan shipping so they don’t end up in a warehouse over a weekend.”
The avos are packed with popcorn.
“It’s our way of going green so if the packing should fall out of the fruit box holes, it won’t harm the environment,” Remington said. “We also found popcorn doesn’t emit gas so it slows the ripening process.”
The gift pack offered since 2012 includes four large Hass avocados, a jar of hand cream developed by Luba Staller, Guacamole Spice Blend by Bob Staller, and the smaller bottle of cooking oil.
“But the deal of the season until Dec. 15 is our new 7.50 (ml) bottle of avocado cooking oil. It looks like a wine bottle. Avocado oil has the highest smoke point of any oil so won’t burn when frying. We’ll spritz it on barbecue meats and it won’t char. It’s healthy for dry-skinned dogs. Try it on old-fashion popped popcorn. You won’t need butter to flavor. It’s only $20 in our store and $30 includes shipping.”
Judy Salamacha’s column is special to The Tribune. Reach her at email@example.com or 801-1422.