TY and I had a late night flight on our day of departure and Hass avocado was offering a free avocado tour. We thought it might be a promotional thing and maybe not so much fun, and considered a paid a city tour instead; but finally decided that free is a pretty good price and so signed up for the avocado tour.
Wow, were we (and the 30 or so other members of WACS who joined) glad we did! This was a glorious joy ride up into the Andes outside of the city to an 88000 acre plantation in the Quillota valley, which grows table grapes, citrus, and the belle of the ball, Hass avocados. Desarrollo Agrario is a rustic and very busy ranch with very passionate owner-operators who took us on a highly educational tour of the operation, from grafting through harvest. We were able to sample grapes right off the vine (not quite ready but succulent none the less) and the last pick of this years avocado crop (the picking season ends in late December).
After and extensive and informative several hour tour of the range we were driven to a small stepped paddock where the ranch chefs were preparing a massive barbecue feast of spit roast beef, pork and lamb along with dozens of avocado recipes including an avocado & pisco sour. I had a sip of that to be polite but for me too much pisco!
The meal was the best I had in Chile, and reminded me of my years as the chef of Wickenburg Inn where we held such ranch style – out door barbecues at leats once a week. There is nothing more satisfying to the palate as spit roasted meats. And fresh Chilean Hass avocado perfectly ripened is a distinctive tasting creamy and delicious experience that will keep any customer queuing up for more. All the delegates who came unanimously declared that this was the extreme highlight of the week and we were all appreciative to Hass for the adventure.
The scenery of the ranch had me so enthralled that I honestly offered to stay on and work for room and board. Of course the owners took a look at me and said they thought with the amount I might eat, the price seemed too high. With bellies full of the finest Chilean cuisine, eyes full of the beauty of the Andean farm, minds full of an education in farming and hearts full of the warmth of our extended friendships, we boarded the bus back to hotel, then airport, then eventually our own homes, richer by far for having come to this place.
Wish you were here, from 34 degrees south 70 degrees west and 510 Meters up.
January 29, 2010