The Lovely Lemons of Goleta | NBC Southern California
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The Lovely Lemons of Goleta

The tartest of to-dos is a sweet September staple.

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    The tartest of to-dos is a sweet September staple. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The New York Culinary Experience)

    THE NUMBER OF EDIBLES... that easily alight in both the savory and sweet categories is pretty limited. Cocoa, a dessert-ready favorite, can show up in mole sauces, and nuts have a way of brightening both cakes and cheesy dips. As for goodies that grow on trees? They show a bit more spunk on the "savory and sweets" front, guesting in casseroles and cookies alike. Look to the lemon, which brightens both guacamoles and fish as well as a host of candies and pies. But the tart nature of the brightly hued citrus is pretty difficult to duplicate, and while other fruits can sometimes stand in for the lemon, your ultimate dish probably won't be described as "lemony" (an ultimate compliment, if it is one of your go-to fruits). And paying homage to this singular foodstuff each year is what many fans seek to do, and they seek out Goleta in September as a place to do it. That's where the annual Lemon Festival goes down, and the 2016 tart-major to-do is set for...

    SEPT. 24 AND 25: It's the 25th annual California Lemon Festival, and while a pie eating contest and Lemon Run are part of the party, there are several carnival-sweet happenings as well. There shall be vendors, and crafts to peruse, and a car show, and just the sorts of small-town-y sights that help bridge the summer-to-fall road. This will be on the first weekend of fall, in fact, a time of year that signifies a host of eat-centered soirees around the Santa Barbara area. Ready to rev that up while savoring your favorite citrus? Start here.