What is it like to live in Hollister, California?

The Farm at San Benito activities

I lived in Hollister for ten years, as it was the last place I could afford to buy a house in the San Francisco Bay Area region.

When i moved there, the population was about 23k.

When I left, it was about 33k.

It is a commuter town; 50 miles from my office in San Jose, and most of my neighbors worked in San Jose or other south Bay Are towns, like Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

The southernmost town in Santa Clara, Gilroy, is about twenty miles away on Highway 25, a two lane road that leads out of the county to Highway 101, the main arterial north and south between San Jose and Salinas.

Two other roads, highway 152 and 129, also flow through, and 152 connects to 156 which leads to Interstate 5.

In the southernmost portion of the county, there is state route 193.

,There is a fairly large high school, Hollister High School, or San Benito High School, depending on when you lived there.

I understand there is a second school there now, in the northern corner of the county.

,There is a 55 bed hospital there in the center of town, Hazel Hawkins Hospital, which is a level III trauma center.

There are also three skilled nursing facilities and one developmentally disabled facility.

,Hollister is the county seat for San Benito county, which has one other town, San Juan Bautista, and two other unincorporated towns, Tres Pinos and Aromas.

,When I speak with my old neighbor in Hollister, he tells me that Hollister has grown by quite a bit, and seems to be suffering from an influx of gang activity, though I canu2019t confirm that.

The last time I was there, I found it unfamiliar; I believe the population is close to 40k or more.

There are large housing tracts built east of Fairview road now, on what was once farm land.

Highway 25 has not been improved to accommodate the traffic, so it has become more dicey during the commut.

,Hollister had, when I lived there, three markets, including a Safeway and Knob Hill.

Hollister has several restaurants, cafes, and a couple of bars.

For a while, there used to be a biker rally every Fourth of July, but the town may have tired of that.

,I reared all my children there for the ten years we lived there, and I did love the town.

I would have sayed, had my office in San Jose not consolidated and forced my move to Southern California.

The Farm San Benito owner

Chipilo is a small town of about 3-4,000 people in the state of Puebla in the central highlands of Mexico, where the traditional mother tongue of the townsfolk is not Spanish, nor any of Mexicos indigenous languages like Nahuatl, but actually Venetian, from the north-east corner of Italy.

Or rather, their version of it: Chipilo Venetian dialect, which locals often just call Talian (emphasis on last syllable; means Italian in Venetian).

,Source: Italosiblings at ChipiloDuring the 19th century, a lot of European colonies and white-ruled former colonies around the world actively encouraged and supported European immigration to increase the white-to-native ratio.

Mexico was no exception to such racial policies, especially under the unabashedly Europhile dictator Porfirio Du00edaz.

(For a few examples of Europhile architecture during his era, the Porfiriato, see my answer to What-North-American-city-feels-the-most-European?)In the second half of the 19th century, life for the peasants of the Veneto region (Venices hinterland) was hard: crushing poverty, extortionate rents, and recurrent famines and malnutrition* (oh, and every decade or so it seemed to become a battleground for Europes military powers).

So in 1882 some families from the town of Segusino (with which Chipilo is now twinned, as seen in the sign above) and surrounding villages in the Province of Treviso (TV) grouped together to take advantage of the programme for emigration to Mexico.

(By the way, Treviso and the Veneto is now one of the richest parts of Italy, indeed the world, home to enterprises like Benetton, DeLonghi and Luxottica.

),Source: Google Maps.

PS: It took slightly longer than 18 hours 15 minutes to travel the 10,000km between Segusino and Chipilo back in the 19th century.

As was so often the case, the promoters of the emigration programme oversold it and the emigrants arrived to find themselves in a situation that was nowhere near their expectations nor what they were used to.

But they persevered, and changed from growing crops (hard in the dry and never-before-ploughed land they were stuck with) to raising cattle and specializing in dairy products.

,Source: Chipilo Puebla.

Products of Chipilo: cheese, cheese and more cheese.

Over the next couple of decades, some more veneti came and they kept on building up despite the tough circumstances and the community even survived a close call with Emiliano Zapatas forces during the Mexican Revolution (a multi-sided, decade-long civil war when roving armies of all sides would often rape, loot, rape, murder and rape (did I remember to mention rape?) to the extent that many small communities didnt recover; just the sort of thing the Veneti had left Europe to get away from).

In fact, Zapatas approach helped preserve the Venetian language in Chipilo, as residents circled the wagons in defence and closed themselves off from the surrounding community for years to come, preventing assimilation with the society around them.

(At the time, most of the villages around Chipilo still spoke Nahuatl rather than Spanish.

),Emiliano Zapata (black suit): revolutionary, martyr, preserver of Venetian!Ive been to Chipilo a couple of times (sorry, no photos of my own at the moment, so Im raiding Flickr).

While in many ways it looks like many other small towns in rural Mexico, there are some differences: Italian flags dotted about, occasional signs in Venetian or Italian, young people zipping around on motor scooters (just like in Italy but much rarer elsewhere in Mexico) and then going down the side streets (all paved, unlike many rural side streets), lots of narrow strips of property that extend far, far back from the street, with barns full of cattle.

The smell is.

.

.

significant :) And further back, fields of alfalfa and other feed crops for that cattle.

Nowadays many of the employees of the farms are of ancestry more usual for central Mexico (like mestizo mixture of Indigenous and Spanish) who speak Spanish as a mother tongue, although apparently some learn a bit of Venetian for work.

,,Source: Chipilo Pizzeria.

Pizzeria overlooking the town square.

,Source: 0434-Mmmm que rico.

.

.

.

One of the many long lines of cows to be found in the long strip lots off the side streets of Chipilo.

,And when I was teaching at university in the city of Puebla (about a half-hour drive from Chipilo), I had a fair number of chipileu00f1o students: many with blonde or light brown hair, often with green, hazel or blues eyes, with surnames like Minutti and Schieveninni.

Fluent Spanish though, as veneto is spoken in the home and with fellow chipileu00f1os but everywhere else they use Spanish, with some exposure to Italian from things like satellite TV and DVDs.

(The Venetian language doesnt have any official status at a state or federal level, so no govt schools, exams etc in Venetian.

And as for media, theres not a lot in Venetian even in Italy, let alone Chipilo Venetian in Mexico.

),Source: Chipilo, 02-07-08.

The Chipilo ethnic mix.

Source: Untitled.

Ital-Trek: The Next Generation.

,When my dad came to Puebla, I told him there was a town full of Venetians half an hour away.

After he recovered from the shock ;) (not really, he knows Italians get everywhere) we visited Chipilo and conversed in Italian with some of the shopkeepers.

(My grandmother was from Friuli, next door to the Veneto, but neither my dad nor I speak any Venetian or Friulian).

,Source: Italosiblings at Chipilo.

The shop where we bought some cheese and sausage and spoke with the owners in Italian.

Next door, The Italian Coffee Company.

Background far right, the volcano Popocatu00e9petl.

Some famous companies in central Mexico have been started by chipileu00f1os, building on their Italian heritage or dairy expertise or both:,Topolino, a chain of ice cream and coffee bars, whose name means little mouse in Italian and is also the name of Mickey Mouse in Italy (which I guess is why Disney failed to trademark it in Mexico).

n,Source: Topolino - San Baltazar - Pueblan,The Italian Coffee Company, a Starbucks-like chain/franchise which feels like it has become ridiculously ubiquitous in Puebla and is spreading throughout the centre and south of the country.

Apparently founded by members of the same family as Topolino who broke away to set up their own thing.

n,,The eponymous Chipilo brand of dairy products (butter, cream, cheese).

n,,La Piccolina De Chipilo, a small chain of Italian-style delis specializing in meat & dairy products from the town.

n,Source: La Piccolina de Chipilo - Huexotitla - Puebla (Looks like the website has rebranded but for now the shops that I pass still have the old branding like the photo above.

)In fact, the people of Chipilo and dairy products became so synonymous that in the city of Puebla people used to joke that if you had green eyes, then your mother must have cheated with the milkman (traditionally a job held by Chipileu00f1os).

,Chipilo even has an honorary Italian consul, who can handle things like visa applications.

Not many villages in the middle of cattle and fields can say that!,So there it is: the language enclave of Chipilo.

A little bit of the Veneto, in the shadow of the volcanoes.

Source: VolcanesenChipilo.

A view from the edge of Chipilo, over the feed crops, to the volcanoes of Popocatu00e9petl (left, active) and Iztaccu00edhuatl in the distance.

,Links with more info on Chipilo and its use of Venetian:,IDENTITY, LANGUAGE AND HISTORY IN CHIPILO: THE PERIODIC (RE)CONSTRUCTION of A VENETO COMMUNITY ALLu2019ESTERO.

Great article on the history of Chipilo (the town even supported Mussolini and fascism in the 1920s!) and how the Venetian language has been preserved there (while other Italian communities in Mexico assimilated linguistically & culturally) and Chipilo Venetians characteristics and interaction with Spanish and Nahuatl.

Authored by the linguist who created an orthography for Chipilo Venetian.

(Speaking of Mussolini, Benito Mussolini was named after the Mexican president Benito Juu00e1rez because the reformist Juu00e1rez had defeated the conservative Austrian Maximilian, echoing the desire of many Italians to kick out and keep out the Austrians from northern Italy; the Veneto had still been under Austrian rule a mere 16 years before the emigrants left Segusino for Chipilo.

),In Spanish: Chipilo, el Mu00e9xico italiano.

Mentions that people in modern-day Veneto think chipileu00f1os, even young ones, talk old-fashioned Venetian, like their grandparents used to.

,chipilo - YouTube - videos on Chipilo, mostly in Spanish, some in Italian.

I cant find any in English, Im afraid.

,With the above video, you at least get to hear some Chipilo Venetian (with subs in Italian) after the introduction in Italian.

,,*Ironically, one factor contributing to the emigration from the Veneto (including to Chipilo in Puebla state) was its reliance on Maize, a crop domesticated in the southern part of the state of Puebla about 5,000 years ago.

The plant itself had made it to Europe as part of the Columbian Exchange, but not so all the knowledge & traditions related to it.

So while people in northern Italy came to depend on it as the mainstay of their diet (e.

g.

Polenta), they didnt process it the way Mesoamericans had done for millennia, by nixtamalization (first soaking and cooking the maize in an alkaline solution), which chemically locks in and even increases key nutrients like niacin and tryptophan.

,Without this nixtamalization process, a steady diet of maize eventually leads to health problems like the disease pellagra, whose causes were not then understood and which was a major problem not only in the Veneto in the 19th century but also in other heavily-maize-reliant societies that didnt have a millennia-long tradition of maize cultivation, including the southern US well into the 20th century and even southern Africa to this day, where maize is often still not nixtamalized.

The poverty compounded by problems like maize-related pellagra was a major spur for people to emigrate from the Veneto.

.

.

to the very place that had the solution to the problem and had domesticated maize in the first place.

The Farm at San Benito history

Chipilo is a small town of about 3-4,000 people in the state of Puebla in the central highlands of Mexico, where the traditional mother tongue of the townsfolk is not Spanish, nor any of Mexicos indigenous languages like Nahuatl, but actually Venetian, from the north-east corner of Italy.

Or rather, their version of it: Chipilo Venetian dialect, which locals often just call Talian (emphasis on last syllable; means Italian in Venetian).

,Source: Italosiblings at ChipiloDuring the 19th century, a lot of European colonies and white-ruled former colonies around the world actively encouraged and supported European immigration to increase the white-to-native ratio.

Mexico was no exception to such racial policies, especially under the unabashedly Europhile dictator Porfirio Du00edaz.

(For a few examples of Europhile architecture during his era, the Porfiriato, see my answer to What-North-American-city-feels-the-most-European?)In the second half of the 19th century, life for the peasants of the Veneto region (Venices hinterland) was hard: crushing poverty, extortionate rents, and recurrent famines and malnutrition* (oh, and every decade or so it seemed to become a battleground for Europes military powers).

So in 1882 some families from the town of Segusino (with which Chipilo is now twinned, as seen in the sign above) and surrounding villages in the Province of Treviso (TV) grouped together to take advantage of the programme for emigration to Mexico.

(By the way, Treviso and the Veneto is now one of the richest parts of Italy, indeed the world, home to enterprises like Benetton, DeLonghi and Luxottica.

),Source: Google Maps.

PS: It took slightly longer than 18 hours 15 minutes to travel the 10,000km between Segusino and Chipilo back in the 19th century.

As was so often the case, the promoters of the emigration programme oversold it and the emigrants arrived to find themselves in a situation that was nowhere near their expectations nor what they were used to.

But they persevered, and changed from growing crops (hard in the dry and never-before-ploughed land they were stuck with) to raising cattle and specializing in dairy products.

,Source: Chipilo Puebla.

Products of Chipilo: cheese, cheese and more cheese.

Over the next couple of decades, some more veneti came and they kept on building up despite the tough circumstances and the community even survived a close call with Emiliano Zapatas forces during the Mexican Revolution (a multi-sided, decade-long civil war when roving armies of all sides would often rape, loot, rape, murder and rape (did I remember to mention rape?) to the extent that many small communities didnt recover; just the sort of thing the Veneti had left Europe to get away from).

In fact, Zapatas approach helped preserve the Venetian language in Chipilo, as residents circled the wagons in defence and closed themselves off from the surrounding community for years to come, preventing assimilation with the society around them.

(At the time, most of the villages around Chipilo still spoke Nahuatl rather than Spanish.

),Emiliano Zapata (black suit): revolutionary, martyr, preserver of Venetian!Ive been to Chipilo a couple of times (sorry, no photos of my own at the moment, so Im raiding Flickr).

While in many ways it looks like many other small towns in rural Mexico, there are some differences: Italian flags dotted about, occasional signs in Venetian or Italian, young people zipping around on motor scooters (just like in Italy but much rarer elsewhere in Mexico) and then going down the side streets (all paved, unlike many rural side streets), lots of narrow strips of property that extend far, far back from the street, with barns full of cattle.

The smell is.

.

.

significant :) And further back, fields of alfalfa and other feed crops for that cattle.

Nowadays many of the employees of the farms are of ancestry more usual for central Mexico (like mestizo mixture of Indigenous and Spanish) who speak Spanish as a mother tongue, although apparently some learn a bit of Venetian for work.

,,Source: Chipilo Pizzeria.

Pizzeria overlooking the town square.

,Source: 0434-Mmmm que rico.

.

.

.

One of the many long lines of cows to be found in the long strip lots off the side streets of Chipilo.

,And when I was teaching at university in the city of Puebla (about a half-hour drive from Chipilo), I had a fair number of chipileu00f1o students: many with blonde or light brown hair, often with green, hazel or blues eyes, with surnames like Minutti and Schieveninni.

Fluent Spanish though, as veneto is spoken in the home and with fellow chipileu00f1os but everywhere else they use Spanish, with some exposure to Italian from things like satellite TV and DVDs.

(The Venetian language doesnt have any official status at a state or federal level, so no govt schools, exams etc in Venetian.

And as for media, theres not a lot in Venetian even in Italy, let alone Chipilo Venetian in Mexico.

),Source: Chipilo, 02-07-08.

The Chipilo ethnic mix.

Source: Untitled.

Ital-Trek: The Next Generation.

,When my dad came to Puebla, I told him there was a town full of Venetians half an hour away.

After he recovered from the shock ;) (not really, he knows Italians get everywhere) we visited Chipilo and conversed in Italian with some of the shopkeepers.

(My grandmother was from Friuli, next door to the Veneto, but neither my dad nor I speak any Venetian or Friulian).

,Source: Italosiblings at Chipilo.

The shop where we bought some cheese and sausage and spoke with the owners in Italian.

Next door, The Italian Coffee Company.

Background far right, the volcano Popocatu00e9petl.

Some famous companies in central Mexico have been started by chipileu00f1os, building on their Italian heritage or dairy expertise or both:,Topolino, a chain of ice cream and coffee bars, whose name means little mouse in Italian and is also the name of Mickey Mouse in Italy (which I guess is why Disney failed to trademark it in Mexico).

n,Source: Topolino - San Baltazar - Pueblan,The Italian Coffee Company, a Starbucks-like chain/franchise which feels like it has become ridiculously ubiquitous in Puebla and is spreading throughout the centre and south of the country.

Apparently founded by members of the same family as Topolino who broke away to set up their own thing.

n,,The eponymous Chipilo brand of dairy products (butter, cream, cheese).

n,,La Piccolina De Chipilo, a small chain of Italian-style delis specializing in meat & dairy products from the town.

n,Source: La Piccolina de Chipilo - Huexotitla - Puebla (Looks like the website has rebranded but for now the shops that I pass still have the old branding like the photo above.

)In fact, the people of Chipilo and dairy products became so synonymous that in the city of Puebla people used to joke that if you had green eyes, then your mother must have cheated with the milkman (traditionally a job held by Chipileu00f1os).

,Chipilo even has an honorary Italian consul, who can handle things like visa applications.

Not many villages in the middle of cattle and fields can say that!,So there it is: the language enclave of Chipilo.

A little bit of the Veneto, in the shadow of the volcanoes.

Source: VolcanesenChipilo.

A view from the edge of Chipilo, over the feed crops, to the volcanoes of Popocatu00e9petl (left, active) and Iztaccu00edhuatl in the distance.

,Links with more info on Chipilo and its use of Venetian:,IDENTITY, LANGUAGE AND HISTORY IN CHIPILO: THE PERIODIC (RE)CONSTRUCTION of A VENETO COMMUNITY ALLu2019ESTERO.

Great article on the history of Chipilo (the town even supported Mussolini and fascism in the 1920s!) and how the Venetian language has been preserved there (while other Italian communities in Mexico assimilated linguistically & culturally) and Chipilo Venetians characteristics and interaction with Spanish and Nahuatl.

Authored by the linguist who created an orthography for Chipilo Venetian.

(Speaking of Mussolini, Benito Mussolini was named after the Mexican president Benito Juu00e1rez because the reformist Juu00e1rez had defeated the conservative Austrian Maximilian, echoing the desire of many Italians to kick out and keep out the Austrians from northern Italy; the Veneto had still been under Austrian rule a mere 16 years before the emigrants left Segusino for Chipilo.

),In Spanish: Chipilo, el Mu00e9xico italiano.

Mentions that people in modern-day Veneto think chipileu00f1os, even young ones, talk old-fashioned Venetian, like their grandparents used to.

,chipilo - YouTube - videos on Chipilo, mostly in Spanish, some in Italian.

I cant find any in English, Im afraid.

,With the above video, you at least get to hear some Chipilo Venetian (with subs in Italian) after the introduction in Italian.

,,*Ironically, one factor contributing to the emigration from the Veneto (including to Chipilo in Puebla state) was its reliance on Maize, a crop domesticated in the southern part of the state of Puebla about 5,000 years ago.

The plant itself had made it to Europe as part of the Columbian Exchange, but not so all the knowledge & traditions related to it.

So while people in northern Italy came to depend on it as the mainstay of their diet (e.

g.

Polenta), they didnt process it the way Mesoamericans had done for millennia, by nixtamalization (first soaking and cooking the maize in an alkaline solution), which chemically locks in and even increases key nutrients like niacin and tryptophan.

,Without this nixtamalization process, a steady diet of maize eventually leads to health problems like the disease pellagra, whose causes were not then understood and which was a major problem not only in the Veneto in the 19th century but also in other heavily-maize-reliant societies that didnt have a millennia-long tradition of maize cultivation, including the southern US well into the 20th century and even southern Africa to this day, where maize is often still not nixtamalized.

The poverty compounded by problems like maize-related pellagra was a major spur for people to emigrate from the Veneto.

.

.

to the very place that had the solution to the problem and had domesticated maize in the first place.