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The 2009 California avocado season will be hitting full stride just in time for this year's Cinco de Mayo festivities, and the California Avocado Commission has put together a creative promotion plan to encourage avocado consumption around the May 5 celebration.

Celebrity chefs, mouth-watering avocado recipes, public relations efforts and extensive on-line outreach will position California avocados top of mind for consumers.

"This year's avocado consumption forecast for Cinco de Mayo festivities exceeds even February's big game, with just over 51 million pounds of avocados expected to be consumed," Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the commission, said in a press release. "We'll launch the new creative for our California avocado growers advertising campaign, and our retail and foodservice merchandising programs designed to encourage consumer demand for fresh California avocados will be in place."

The commission has tapped California celebrity chefs and restaurateurs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, known as the "Too Hot Tamales," to develop new California avocado-centric recipes and serve as the program's spokespeople.

Through media interviews, national print media outreach and a radio news release, the chefs will discuss the popularity of California avocados for Cinco de Mayo entertaining, and also will offer quick tips on how to eat avocados in their simplest form to encourage consumers' use of avocados beyond guacamole.

Ms. Milliken and Ms. Feniger are owners of the critically acclaimed Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, CA, and Las Vegas, NV, as well as Ciudad in downtown Los Angeles.

The commission also will conduct broadcast television outreach to promote fresh California avocados in conjunction with Cinco de Mayo.

The Internet will play a key role in the commission's Cinco de Mayo promotion. An on-line micro site with the theme "Fiesta Flavors with Fresh California Avocados" will shine the spotlight on avocados as the centerpiece of Cinco de Mayo entertaining. Recipes will feature fresh ingredients and culinary inspirations, including creations from the "Too Hot Tamales."

The micro site will be promoted by search engine marketing and on-line advertising. In addition, the commission will promote Cinco de Mayo consumption of California avocados via e-mail outreach to nearly 60,000 of its recipe e-mail fans.

"Last year CAC's public relations outreach alone garnered more than 130 million consumer impressions," Ms. DeLyser added in the press release. "We anticipate that CAC's integrated marketing campaign, in support of Cinco de Mayo, will encourage more consumers to add California avocados to their shopping baskets this year."