According to the National Day Calendar website, June 1 is National Olive Day. The website says,
Divina founded National Olive Day in 2015 as a way to share the culinary history and traditions of this amazing food.
When I worked in California, I saw lots of olive groves when I came down from the mountain. I even saw a giant olive sitting in a parking lot.
That olive is the world’s largest, and it sits in Lindsay, California. According to the Weird California website, there are two giant olives in California. The one pictured above is a black olive. Weird California says,
It was originally outside the Lindsay Company’s plant in town, but when the plant unfortunately closed, it was moved outside what was, at the time, fittingly, the Olive Tree Inn…The Olive Tree Inn, however, is now a Super 8 Motel. It is not too far from the junctions of Highways 137 and 65. It is located in the motel parking lot, sitting proudly on a pedestal. It is made of concrete..
From the October 2013 article “Growing Olives – Information” by Richard Molinar UC Cooperative Extension Fresno, retired, I learned
California is the only state in the nation producing a commercially significant crop of olives. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States come from California…The top olive-producing counties in California are Tulare, Tehama and Glenn counties.
A-ha! Guess what! Lindsay, CA is in Tulare County. It makes sense that Tulare County would be the home of the world’s largest olive.
Have you ever wondered if an olive is a fruit or a vegetable? An article by Caroline Picard for Good Housekeeping answers that questions. Olives are
… technically fruits.
The stones inside [olives] act as the seeds for the Olea europaea tree. In any botanist’s book that means they’re technically classified as fruits — specifically a kind called drupes, a.k.a. stone fruits. This category also includes sweeter produce like mango, dates, apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums..
You may also be wondering if olives are a healthy food choice. According to the article “Olives 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits” by Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice) on the Healthline website,
Olives are a good source of vitamin E, iron, copper, and calcium…Olives are particularly rich in antioxidants, including oleuropein, hydroxytyrosol, tyrosol, oleanolic acid, and quercetin…that may contribute to a variety of benefits, such as lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
While olives do seem to be good for most people, you probably don’t want to eat them right off the tree. According to the Olive FAQ on the DeLallo website
While olives are edible straight from the tree, they are intensely bitter. Olives contain oleuropein and phenolic compounds, which must be removed or, at least, reduced to make the olive palatable…There are a number of ways that an olive can be “cured,” though it is more like a fermentation process…[Olives are] cured in one of four different ways: natural brine, lye, salt or air curing.
One type of olive I would not celebrate National Olive Day with are these Pearls Olives to Go! taco flavored ones. They were given to me by an acquaintance who’d gotten then at a food bank. He wouldn’t even try them. The Man wouldn’t try them either. I’ll try most any food once, so I opened the package and popped one of these olives into my mouth. How bad could they be?
The package contained some of the nastiest food stuff I have ever consumed. I ate one. It was so bad I ate another a little while later to make sure it really was as bad as I remembered. It was. I threw them away. I don’t throw away unspoiled food, but I couldn’t figure out how to disguise the unpleasantness of an olive saturated with fake taco flavor.
I hope you find some delicious olives to enjoy while you celebrate National Olive Day 2020!
I took the photos in this post.