New stevia crop could offer sweet returns
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new crop now being harvested the Valley could be a game changer for the sweetener industry.
It's not like money is falling from the sky but there is a lot of green to be made in the stevia market. The green leaf is seen by some as the future of the sweetener industry.
Koren Sihota explained, "No calories no fat. It's healthy and as dependent as we are on sweet stuff it's going to sell itself."
Sihota heads the stevia project for the S & W Seed company. He grew a test plot last year to find the best variety. Now a 100 acre stevia plot was being harvested.
The stevia leaf was spread out onto a tarp to dry as soon as it was harvested. Sihota explained, "That's what it turns into. Nice dry and crisp after about two days with a little bit of sun and a little bit of wind."
The stevia extract reb-a is said to be 300 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia is native to Paraguay.
Once the stevia leaf is dried it is then shipped overseas and processed into very popular products. Some are sold by Coke and Pepsi.
Sihota said over 600 products now contain stevia. "There's so many soft drinks with it out there, Odwalla, Sobe Lifewater, they're putting it in tea."
S & W has partnered with Pure Circle, a company which sought a North American stevia supplier.
Sihota said, "It's been scary because there's a lot of eyes on you and you don't want to mess up."
ag report, stevia, ag watch, dale yurong
- Get the Winning Numbers for Powerball!
- Valley man kills intruder with samurai sword
- Welty's final commencement at Fresno State
- Connecticut commuter train crash: 70 injured
- SKorea: NKorea fires 3 short-range missiles
- Ricin letter case: FBI searches WA apartment
- Pacers knock out Knicks with 106-99 win in Game 6
- Chatwood leads Rockies past Giants 10-2
- San Jose Sharks fined $100,000 for GM's comments
- Kai murder investigation details revealed
- Dog pack kills nearly 80 animals at campus
- Sikh man who was beaten shares his story
- Police investigate a home invasion in Central Fresno
- Mother of a Fresno toddler talks after hit-and-run
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed VideoMost Viewed Photos