The annual Caltech Olive Harvest Festival is one of those unusual and wonderful events that draws different worlds together.
Each year, around early November, people -- students, faculty, and people from around LA -- gather to pick olives from the trees around the Pasadena-based institution. Then those olives become olive oil, which is in turn sold to raise money for campus activities.
Should we add that the California Institute of Technology is famous the world-over for its excellence in matters of science and engineering? We should.
So the fact that Caltech makes a bread-dippable elixir out of its fruits every year, and builds an autumn festival around the olives, charms. We hear about other universities occasionally picking and selling crops, but those crops are commonly in a proper field, not in trees dotting a campus.
Question: Does using Caltech olive oil make you brainier? We wish and hope this is so (although we think one should probably actually attend Caltech to get brainier).
The 2011 update, however, is not cheerful: Caltech has postponed the party due to "a lack of olive-producing trees." Any olives on the trees will be picked by students. However, the school does expect a larger crop next year.
It's a disappointment, of course, and the B movie-loving part of us wishes some of those scientists can invent an olive-growing device lickety-split. Still, if you're keen to buy a bottle of the Caltech olive oil, or participate in 2012, keep an eye on this site.