After 35 years as the farm advisor to Sonoma and Marin counties, Paul Vossen is taking his expertise in apples, grapes and olives on the road, as an ag consultant and globetrotter.
Like any other home gardener, former UC
Cooperative Extension horticulture adviser Paul Vossen, 59, still gets
excited by the discovery of a few red, juicy tomatoes ripening on his
“Hey, look at these,” he shouts as he gives a tour of his Bennett Valley back yard. “Do you need any basil? Any cucumbers?”
he first arrived in Sonoma County in 1981, Vossen conducted his own
farm experiments, growing some of the first heirloom tomatoes in Sonoma
County along with fruits like berries. At the time he was living on
three acres in Windsor.
used it as a demonstration garden to show farmers how to grow that
crop,” he said. “I had a lot of fun, but I also found out how much work
serving for 35 years as the farm advisor to Sonoma and Marin counties,
Vossen retired at the end of June. But the fruits of his labor — the
high-quality apples, grapes and olives of the North Coast he has
scientifically researched and helped promote — will still play a role in
his new life as an ag consultant and globetrotter.
“I’m going to work on a project in Albania with the U.S. Agency for
International Development,” he said. “They have a lot of olives there,
but it’s a poor country. The quality is not very good.”
Widely known as the godfather of California olive oil, Vossen was
instrumental in helping a handful of olive-growing pioneers in Wine
Country who dreamed of making extra virgin olive oil that would rival
the region’s renowned wines. More
Photo of Paul Vossen by Alvin Jornada, The Press Democrat