Cal Poly is already known for its chocolates, peanut butter cups, jams and barbecue sauce. Now, the university’s food science and nutrition department is venturing into salad territory with its olallieberry balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
This latest food creation was the brainchild of student Emma Sandquist, who dreamed up the dressing in the summer as part of a departmental internship program, said Brandon Coleman, pilot plant manager.
Under Coleman’s supervision, Sandquist developed the formula for the product, which plays off the strength and unique character of a berry native to the Central Coast. The inspiration was the standard raspberry vinaigrette, which has become a dressing staple for many people, Coleman said.
“The intention is for it to go on salads or to use as a dip for veggies,” he said. “It has a sweet, tart flavor.”
So far, about 5,000 jars of the dressing have been produced and 3,600 sold, mainly on campus, Coleman said. It is used at Campus Dining salad bars and can be found at Campus Market and the university’s bookstore, as well as the San Luis Obispo Farmers Market. It’s also available online and at Cal Poly Downtown on Higuera Street. A 14-ounce jar sells for $7.
Cal Poly gets the olallieberries from Borba Farms in Aromas, Calif., but there’s a limited supply of the fruit, Coleman said, adding that it’s also used for Cal Poly’s olallieberry jam and is infused into its olallieberry crisp chocolate bar.
“We only have access to them from June through September,” he said. “We freeze them to get them to last as long as possible.”