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† UCís role in California olive oil industry

Narrator:       This is Science Today. The olive oil industry is fairly new in California, beginning about two decades ago when a couple of growers in Sonoma County decided to grow olives for oil production. At some point, they approached University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor Paul Vossen for advice.

Vossen:          They came to me and said, well, how do we do this, really? You know, we don't know anything about growing olives or how far apart do we space them? When do we harvest them? How do we process the oil, what's a good oil? And so as that industry began to take off, people needed to learn about all those different kinds of things.

Vossen eventually founded an olive oil tasting panel that was recognized by the International Olive Oil Council and he still conducts research to provide growers with best practices and sensory qualities for the oil. Today, California olive oils are challenging Europe and have topped best-rated lists.

Vossen:          It's a great thing to be able to help farmers and buyers and process and help consumers recognize some of the interesting high-quality products that we have.

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.