Close-up on the heat pack (no longer warm).
If you are an avocado lover—or you know one who's birthday is coming up—a box of these bumpy green fruits sitting on your doorstep sounds like heaven, right? One company in California has started a mail-order business in an effort to combat the competition and high water prices that threaten the family farm. We had the chance to try out the goods. The Holtz family has been farming avocados for decades, and in January, they started shipping fresh-picked avocados straight to consumers. It's funny; we know plenty of farms (not to mention companies like Harry & David) that ship citrus and other fruits. Why not avocados? We'd much rather get these than a bunch of pears any day.
The avocados are shipped the same day they're picked and are nestled in straw with a little heat pack (like a hand warmer you use when you're skiing), which we're assuming keeps the avocados from freezing during winter months or else helps them start ripening? There's a booklet inside that tells you how long your avocados should take to ripen, plus tips on storing them. We loved the advice on freezing avocado flesh; apparently it works like a charm, which we never knew.
As we expected, the downside is the price. Gift boxes start at $35.95 for six. The price includes shipping—which is usually the big expense with food delivery—but that's still almost $6 per avocado. Organic avocados at Whole Foods cost about $3 each. That's painful enough for us.
The payoff? Quality and size. Every once in a while, we'll cut open an avocado from the store, only to find spotted, mealy flesh—such a waste. The Holtz family posts a video on their website discussing how they guarantee their avocados will arrive unblemished and beautiful. We certainly agree; ours were HUGE and gorgeous. If we were paying by the pound, these guys probably would cost $6 a piece at the store.
• Check them out: California Avocados Direct
Another thing to consider: It took our avocados almost a week to fully ripen, which was fine, and we planned meals accordingly. But once they ripen, they all ripen. We had eight avocados that needed to be eaten fairly quickly, whereas when we buy them at the store, we buy what we need right then so we don't waste any. We'll definitely need to freeze some of these.
Overall, we'd recommend these as a spectacular gift and a way to support a farm in the US (especially for those of us in the Northeast with no local avocado growers). But as a regular indulgence, they are a bit pricey.
Related: The Best Way to Keep Cut Avocado Fresh!
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf.
(Images: Elizabeth Passarella)