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How do we develop the world’s tastiest avocado? Seeking to be a leader in the global food arena, the University of California launched the Global Food Initiative to address the myriad of food issues confronting the world, including availability, security, sustainability and nutrition. Dedicated to the welfare, development and protection of California agriculture, UC Cooperative Extension (CE) specialists focus on enhancing crop productivity, fruit quality and good agricultural practices. How can they meet the needs of California growers while also satisfying the demands of discriminating consumers seeking fresh, healthful foods with exceptional taste?

At UCR, where researchers have played a major role in helping California become the agricultural powerhouse of the nation, CE subtropical horticulturalist Mary Lu Arpaia is passionate about improving the in-demand avocado. Led by Arpaia, UCR’s avocado breeding program has released four varieties, including GEM, which boasts the same excellent characteristics as the coveted Hass, while reducing harvesting and maintenance costs for growers thanks to its consistent production and more compact trees.

Mary Lu Arpaia

Subtropical Horticulturalist, UC Cooperative Extension College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences

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