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The specialty crops of Sonoma County

Narrator:        This is Science Today. Sonoma County in Northern California may be best known for its wine, but many other products entered the market from its fertile hills. The list includes olive oil, heirloom tomatoes, even salad mix. University of California Cooperative Extension farm advisor Paul Vossen, a renowned olive oil expert, has had a role in much of the county’s specialty crops.

Vossen:           Just as an example, I was one of the first people to plant and grow heirloom tomatoes. We were the first county to plant and grow salad mix – was invented in Sonoma County. And I remember at the time we first invented it, it was so popular and there weren’t enough growers, we were getting twelve dollars a pound. Now, it’s down around three dollars a pound and most of the growers left Sonoma County, So, as soon as something becomes sort of mass-produced, we really can’t compete.

Narrator:        Vossen also helped advise Sonoma County growers when they first began planting olives for oil production, an industry which is now challenging Europe. For Science Today, I’m Larissa Branin.