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CALIFORNIA AVOCADO TOPS LIST OF CINCO DE MAYO FOOD FIESTA; GROWERS GEAR UP FOR BIGGEST CONSUMPTION DAY EVER

 SANTA ANA, Calif., April 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Cinco de Mayo, traditionally one of the biggest days of the year for the nation's suppliers of chips, tortillas, salsa and other Mexican food staples, is predicted to be even bigger this year for one group: California's 6,000 avocado growers. The non-profit California Avocado Commission expects fiesta-seeking revelers to make May 5, 1993, the biggest avocado consumption day on record.
 "Cinco de Mayo has always been the most important time of the year for us," explained Mark Affleck, president of the Santa Ana- based commission. "However, thanks to the growing popularity of avocados and Mexican cooking throughout the U.S., we expect this year's holiday to be the single biggest day in our 32-year history."
 Affleck estimates that 42 million California avocados, or approximately 21 million pounds, will be consumed on Cinco de Mayo 1993 -- most in guacamole. He says this year's sizeable harvest has made the dip an affordable entertaining option in all parts of the country.
 The current single-day record for avocado consumption is Jan. 31, 1993, Super Bowl Sunday, when armchair quarterbacks devoured 25 million California avocados, or 12.5 million pounds of the fruit.
 Put in regional terms, 42 million avocados will make approximately 21 million pounds of guacamole, which is enough dip to:
 -- Fill the four-acre Alamo in San Antonio to a depth of
 7 1/2 inches;
 -- Fill the 16-acre Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles to a depth of
 1 3/4 inches;
 -- Cover New York's 24-acre Rockefeller Center to a depth of
 1 1/4 inches;
 -- Cover Chicago's Wrigley Field (infield and outfield) to a
 depth of 15 inches; and
 -- Stretch from San Diego to Bangor, Me., (2,650 miles) or across
 San Francisco's 8,981-foot Golden Gate Bridge 1,550 times
 (avocados placed stem to stem).
 The holiday, commemorating Mexico's victory over Napoleon III-led French troops in the 1862 Battle of Puebla, also scores big for the nation's snack food suppliers. According to the Snack Food Association, holiday observers will consume more than 1 billion tortilla chips, 240 million corn chips and 292 million pounds of salsa. The Tortilla Industry Association is expecting fajita, quesadilla and soft taco fans to down another 1.2 billion tortillas.
 California avocados are flavorful, versatile and easy to prepare. Consumers can select ripe, ready-to-eat fruit to enjoy immediately or stock up on unripened fruit to enjoy in a few day's time.
 Ripe California avocados will yield to gentle palm pressure and can be used at once or stored in the refrigerator for a few days. Unripened fruit will be hard to the touch. To ripen a California avocado, simply place the fruit in an ordinary paper bag and store at room temperature until ready to use (usually two to five days). Including an apple in the bag will accelerate the process even more.
 A non-profit agency, the California Avocado Commission was founded in 1961 to conduct market-development activities on behalf of the state's 6,000 avocado growers.
 -0- 4/12/93 R
 /CONTACT: Bob Ochsner or Lynne Gray, California Avocado Media Bureau, 213-937-7460/


CO: California Avocado Commission ST: California IN: FOD SU:

MS-LS -- LAFNS2R -- 4622 04/12/93 08:18 EDT
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Date:Apr 12, 1993
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