Friday, August 17, 2012

American Smellscapes: Where Garlic Means Back to School

San Jose Mercury News columnist Sal Pizarro gets pulled into the past by a scented breeze blowing up from Gilroy:
I would never call the South Bay smelly, but I was absolutely overwhelmed by a specific aroma this week: The powerful scent of garlic, drifting 33 miles up to downtown San Jose from Gilroy, in the early morning. 
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t repulsive. But it slammed me against a wall of very strong memories tied to heading off for school on a September morning every year in South San Jose.
Apparently it’s not just him.

P.S. I remember a garlic storage depot just off I-80 in Fairfield. It was so strong we used to roll the windows up when driving past. It’s been gone a long time now.

P.P.S. In nearby Davis, my cue that the school year was about to being was the ketchupy smell of tomatoes being processed at the Hunt’s cannery north of town.


Olfacta said...

We just returned from a trip to California and drove through Gilroy on our way to Calistoga. Windows rolled up, AC on -- still filled the car. I'd heard about this but never experienced it. I loved it.

Avery Gilbert said...


I'm jealous.

One thing I want to do is stop for a few beers at this little roadhouse in Tres Pinos, about 20 miles south of Gilroy on the way to Pinnacles Natl Monument. It always looks so appealing but there's never time . . .