Meet a Member


My pride and my passion for the COOC and for its Seal Certification program is very personal. As a founding member of the organization in 1992, I was part of a gathering of 20 dynamic pioneers, led my Lila Jaeger, who met casually but with purpose and the brazen notion that we could produce world class extra virgin olive oil in California.

Out of that first nascent meeting came the forward-thinking suggestions that if we were going to do this we needed to be seen as advancing “standards” for the production of extra virgin olive oil that would give us a platform to announce we were here. We also understood we would need to be advocates for truth-in-labeling laws so that consumers would ultimately feel confidence and assurance that what they were buying really was authentic California extra virgin olive oil.

Fast forward 26 years (where did that time go!) and those notions are now very much a reality as the COOC Seal Certification and legislation in California now stand as a testament to those initial efforts and to the ongoing work of Patty Darragh and all those growers and producers who have come along since.

So, this is why each and every year when we have our extra virgin olive oils certified to the world-class COOC Taste Panel, it truly is “personal” and prideful” for me to receive the Seal! This verification further motivates us to continue the journey of discovery of how to grow and farm olive trees, and how to produce authentic, world-class extra virgin olive oil.