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!

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

N is for . . .

Credit: Anonymous photographer (Life time: Hollister (1818-1886))
Photo is in public domain. It was found at Wikipedia.

In 1868, the San Justo Homestead Association named the new town they established in Monterey County after the man who sold his property to the group. He was William Welles Hollister, who was originally from Hanover, Ohio.

About 14 years earlier, the 36-year old Hollister, called Colonel Hollister by some, which was an honorary title, probably to distinguish himself as gentleman of means, led a sheep drive of several thousand sheep from Ohio to California. His party included his brother and sister (Mrs. Lucy Brown) and over 50 other people. In Nevada, Hollister met Dr. Thomas Flint, Benjamin Flint, and Llewellyn Bixby, who were leading a sheep drive from Illinois. By 1855, the four men formed a partnership. That same year, the partnership purchased the Rancho San Justo land grant, which consisted of much of the land around present-day San Juan Bautista and Hollister.

In 1861, the partnership was dissolved and the rancho divided in half, with the San Benito River as the demarcation line. Hollister owned everything to the east and Dr. Flint, everything to the west. Colonel Hollister thought he got a bum deal and demanded $10,000. Flint offered to trade parcels if Hollister paid him $10,000.

So, they exchanged lands. And, Hollister built his mansion at the foot of Park Hill, which is where the new courthouse now stands.

After several years, Hollister decided to sell his property of nearly 21,000 acres. A group of men organized the San Justo Homestead Association on October 10, 1868, with a capital stock of $370,000, according to the San Benito Advance (January 15, 1876). The association agreed to pay $370,000 to Hollister, who received $100,000 upon signing the sales contract and the rest of the amount, plus 10 percent interest, within seven years. The association made the last payment to Hollister in January, 1876.

After selling his property, "Colonel" Hollister moved to Santa Barbara where he became known as the largest wool grower in the state, according to Wikipedia. He died in 1886 at the age of 68.

Hollister, California became an incorporated city on August 29, 1872. It became the county seat of the newly formed San Benito County two years later.

Interested in learning more about the history of Hollister, the man, and his namesake, the city of Hollister?  Check out these links:

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

M is for. . .

Maze. . . Corn maze . . .the spectacular Swank Farms Corn Maze!

Every October, Swank Farms of Hollister opens its gate on San Felipe Road and welcomes the public to venture into its maniacal corn maze. Each year, Bonnie Swank designs a new, and even crazier, maze for people to find their way through by figuring where more than two dozen spots are hidden in the maze. People can try their skills and intuition at day or night.

For more details, as well as to learn about other attractions Swank Farms offer, check out its website.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

L is for . . .

Location, location, location.

And, Hollister is an excellent location to live.

It's seven miles east of San Juan Bautista, one of the 21 California missions.

It's 30-some miles from Pinnacles National Park, one of the newest parks in the U.S. National Park Service.

It's about an hour away from Monterey and Santa Cruz. 

It's also an hour away from San Jose and Silicon Valley.

And, depending on how you drive, 90 minutes to two hours from San Francisco.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

K is for . . .

Still kicking!

And, still kicking is the San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo, which began in 1929. Every year, the event takes place at the Bolado Park Fairgrounds in Tres Pinos, about 8 miles south of Hollister. This year, the weekend event will be Friday, June 26 to Sunday, June 28.

As in past years, The Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo will kick off on Thursday evening (June 25) with the a parade through Downtown Hollister.


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