Our region is known for its beautiful vineyards and popular wineries, but tasting rooms and festivals are popping up all over the Central Coast to celebrate a different cash crop.
Nestled among the wine grape vineyards of Paso Robles, there are sprawling orchards growing another fruit.
"Now we are starting to bud little baby olives," said Marisa Bloch, general manager of Pasolivo.
Pasolivo’s booming business begins in its 140-acre orchard of olive trees.
Bloch says olives grown in the orchard are turned into table olives, tapenades and even bath and body products.
However, Pasolivo’s top-selling olive-based product is olive oil and there’s a variety for every palette.
"Right now, we have nine different olive oils to try," Bloch said. "We pair them with different spices, salts and vinegars."
Clotilde Julien, owner of Olea Farm Olive Oil, says the Central Coast’s temperate climate is perfect for growing olives.
"The olive industry has really grown, especially in this area," Julien said.
According to a report out Wednesday by the California Farm Bureau, olive growers report potential for a large crop this year.
It’s good news going into olive festivals in Los Olivos and Paso Robles this weekend.
"Visitors will be able to taste over 100 different olive oils all in one area," Julien said.
"It’s fun to be able to compare. Even though a lot of us come from the same region, there is a difference in the flavor of the oils," Bloch said.
Health experts say you can feel good about eating the delicious, fatty food because of its proven health benefits.
"Everyone should come to the olive festival and get their fill of antioxidants," Julien said.
The Paso Robles Main Street Association’s 14th annual Olive Festival is Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Downtown City Park. Admission and parking are free. Click here for details.
In Los Olivos (which is Spanish for "the olive trees"), the town’s Jazz and Olive Festival runs from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Saturday. Click here for details.