The California Avocado Commission has kicked off its the season with promotional programs that include a Cinco de Mayo sweepstakes, retail advertising contest, an Avo Baby photo contest and a Fourth of July recipe contest.

“Contests and sweepstakes can be valuable tools to motivate retailers and consumers,” vice president of marketing Jan DeLyser said in a news release.

The average-sized California crop is estimated at 400 million pounds, which means promotable volumes through October, according to the release.

The Irvine-based state marketing order started with the Cinco de Mayo sweepstakes that encourages 97,000 Facebook fans to learn more about the crop and submit recipes.

From May 16 to Sept. 12, retailers who advertise California avocados can accumulate points to win prizes. Including the Hand Grown in California logo earns extra points.

The second annual Avo Babies contest, which runs from Mother’s Day, May 13, through Father’s Day, June 17, builds on the success of last year’s efforts to promote the fruit as baby’s first food.

Entrants submit photos of babies and toddlers eating avocados.

The online Fourth of July recipe contest encourages submissions that feature new uses for California avocados or incorporate the fruit into traditional summer favorites.

Visit the commission’s website for more information on its retail programs.