Olives in Los Olivos (and Great Jazz, Too)

The Santa Ynez Valley hamlet honors its glistening namesake.

NOSHING ON THE NAMESAKE: The Golden State is rife with marvelous monikers that are much associated with a particular municipality. There are the Rancho Mirages and the Lone Pines and Glendoras and the Twentynine Palms, too, and each bears its own serious history or quirky beginning or headscratcher of an origin tale. But few towns are named for foodstuffs, edibles that actually, at one time, inspired its charming handle. Los Olivos of the Santa Ynez Valley, though, is such a town. Long ago the hills dotting Rancho de los Olivos were rife with thousands of trees growing a particularly succulent little fruit, the one with the pit in the middle. It went through a few Olivos-related permutations, name-wise, but Los Olivos, today, is its official name, a name that suits its charming hamlet-a-tude, tucked as it is in the hills of wine country. So what's a town with a food-cool name to do about its snackable symbol? Well, throw a party in its honor, and make sure there's some good music, too. And so Los Olivos shall, on the first Saturday in June, when the...

11TH ANNUAL LOS OLIVOS JAZZ & FESTIVAL spreads throughout the downtown of the easily strollable town. The orb, palm-fittable food will be the star of the day, with many vendors selling the best in olive oil and olive-y products. (What's the best offbeat olive-related edible, do you think? We have to go with a heavy, hearty bread that's studded with the wee fruits, or, perhaps olive oil ice cream.) The tunes shall sound throughout the afternoon affair, of the smooth 'n jazzy sort, and it just wouldn't be a party in the Santa Barbara-close wine country without some major winery presence. And so there shall be: Thirty or so local vintners are expected. The price? It is sixty bucks. The sweet and old-fashioned thrill of being a know-it-all about California towns and their name origins, and feeling charmed that you're in a place inspired by a tasty, tree-growing, treasure? That's there for the enjoying.

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