Everyone from California has driven by the Olive Pit fifty times. Located in Corning, the “Olive Capitol of the World”, (Spain, Italy, or Greece may take umbrage at that) in the blasting hot flatlands north of Sacramento, Olive Pit is the Wall Drug of the west.
The general attitude has always been “move along people, there’s nothing to see here” but I was rapidly approaching friends, in whose driveway I would be camping and upon whom I would soon be mooching. I complied with signs demanding that I take exit 631, confident I’d find a hostess gift, pull-through parking for the Airstream, and a bathroom.
Surprisingly, the olives there are not that great. If you’re shaking the perfect martini you’ll want the Santa Barbara’s, but admittedly the variety at The ‘Pit can’t be beat. According to the skyscraping reader board sign they offer “Over 120 Olive Types” (and “Shakes! Mochas! Gifts! Candy! WiFi! 97º…”)
Stay calm. It’s just a big grocery store with a condiment aisle on steroids. If it can be stuffed into an olive, they’ve attempted it: garlic, anchovy, spicy bleu and pepper jack cheese, almond, jalapeno and chipotle, lemon peel, sun dried tomato. “Styles” include French, beer, Kosher dill, Greek, green queen, Cajun, manzanilla, kalamata, Texas hot chili, Napa wine, ranch, Cuban, Dublin, Sicilian, Turkish pepper, what ARE some of these things?
I selected the best of the marginal-quality olive oils and a funky gold balsamic that my friends will undoubtedly re-gift.