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An avocado festival – in Hawaii? Yes, and I just had to give it a try.

While waiting for my plane to land on the Big Island, I’d almost finished reading the airline magazine when the headline “5th Annual Avocado Festival” caught my eye. I nudged my husband and told him that Hawaii had avocados and even an avocado festival. He looked as surprised as I was, since we consider ourselves avocado experts from the avocado capital, San Diego County.

The next morning we drove along the Kona coast watching splashing blue waters and an occasional rising humpback whale. Passing coffee farms in south Kona, we arrived at the lush Greenwell Farms in the Captain Cook area. We were ready to find the 50th state’s version of a Haas or Fuerte avocado.

As I entered the event, I saw a booth manned by culinary students making a variety of sushi using avocado. The line was long to purchase the sushi, which looked like our familiar California rolls, and I decided to explore the next booth with a variety of avocados to sample. Big as a softball and creamy like an avocado should be, the Sharwil buttery, nutty avocado met my test.

Avocados are grown mostly in the Kona area and in Kula, Maui, where the soil nurtures avocados to weigh one to three pounds each. Other types of avocados I tried were not as tasty, but the one the islanders know is the huge flavorful one, which is delicious.

I overheard someone mention avocado pie, which perked my interest, and I located the booth behind the poki salad stand. The pie was thick with mashed avocado and layered with cheeses in a delicate crust. Maybe I’m too used to flavorful guacamole and pie being sweet, because this piece of pie just didn’t do it for me.

Organic avocado rose body scrub, lip balm with avocado oil and powdered avocado seed were demonstrated on any willing person who lent their bare hand to owner/maker Karen from Luana Naturals Company. After sampling her products, I bought enough to keep me young for years.

There were also agricultural experts explaining how to graft avocado trees and spreading the good news about avocado usage in Hawaii.

I later went to several grocery stores and behold, there were the prized avocados.

Now I know.

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