Friday, April 17, 2015

O is for. . .

Olives. . .Olive oil. . . olive festival. . .the San Benito Olive Festival!

I never thought of Hollister as being in the middle of olive country. Probably to some we don't have a humongous amount of olive trees, but the number is surely growing. I'd be walking along and suddenly notice, "That's an olive tree." It may be one tree planted in front of a house, several trees clustered together, such as in the public parking lot behind Wells Fargo Bank, or an olive grove, such as the one at the start of the road to the San Juan Oaks Golf Club.

Brigantino's olive grove overlooks San Juan Valley.

Local historians say that the first olive trees were planted in the 18th century by the Spanish padres around Mission San Juan Bautista. (That's about seven miles west of Hollister.) The mission padres turned the crop into olive oil for their private use. I guess it would be a long wait in those days for olive oil to reach them from the Old World.

The Mission San Juan Bautista olive grove where the annual
Old Mission San Juan Bautista Fiesta takes place.

Today, we have several local olive growers in San Benito County who produce award winning olive oils.

San Benito Olive Festival

In 2013, a group of local community leaders, businesses, and volunteers organized the first San Benito Olive Festival to celebrate the agricultural bounty, artisanal food producers, and natural beauty of our area.

One Saturday in October, the event brings together amazing olive oil makers, food crafters, celebrity chefs, artists, musicians, restaurants, and others from the local area as well as from other parts of California.

This year, the San Benito Olive Festival will be October 17, 2015. The venue to be announced soon. Save the Date!

Click here to find other A to Z challenge participants.


  1. beautiful pictures Susiee, love olives maybe next time can try Hollister's :)

    1. Thanks, Lisa. So far the olive growers here make olive oil from their crops.


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