How Garlic Is Grown & Processed At Christopher Ranch


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How Garlic Is Grown & Processed At Christopher Ranch

June 22, 2024
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How Garlic Is Grown & Processed At Christopher Ranch

How Garlic Is Grown & Processed At Christopher Ranch

Garlic is more than just a flavor—it’s a story of rich fields, dedicated farmers, and culinary adventures. In California, the garlic capital of the U.S., Christopher Ranch stands as a testament to tradition and innovation. Let’s explore how garlic is grown and processed at Christopher Ranch in California.

Christopher Ranch: A Garlic Lover’s Paradise

No discussion about garlic in California is complete without mentioning Christopher Ranch. This family-owned farm established in 1956 is a garlic powerhouse, producing some of the finest garlic you’ll ever taste. A visit to Christopher Ranch underscores their commitment to sustainable farming practices and ensuring the highest-quality garlic.

“We’ve been growing garlic for over 60 years, and our commitment to quality is stronger than ever,” says Ken Christopher, Executive Vice President of Christopher Ranch. “Our garlic is grown with the utmost care, from planting to harvest, to ensure it meets the highest standards.”

How Garlic is Grown at Christopher Ranch.

Christopher Ranch has grown from a small family farm to the largest garlic producer in the United States. The farm tends to its garlic with the utmost care, from planting to harvest. This ensures that it meets the highest quality standards. Christopher Ranch prides itself on producing garlic that is not only delicious but also safe and sustainable.

“Our garlic isn’t just another crop to us; it’s our heritage,” Ken shares. “We put our heart and soul into every bulb, and we’re proud to bring that quality to consumers across the country.”

Christopher Ranch offers a variety of garlic products, from fresh garlic bulbs to peeled garlic cloves. Which makes it easy to add the perfect amount of garlic flavor to all of your favorite recipes.

“Our commitment to sustainability goes beyond our fields. We ensure that every aspect of our production is as environmentally friendly as possible,” Ken emphasizes.

The Future Garlic Growing at Christopher Ranch.

“We’re constantly innovating to improve our farming techniques and ensure the best quality garlic reaches our customers,” Ken explains. “It’s about marrying tradition with technology.”

Ken also highlights the importance of family in the business. “Our family values are at the core of everything we do. We believe in treating our employees and customers like extended family.”

Reflecting on the challenges many farmers face, Ken mentions, “Farming isn’t easy. We deal with unpredictable weather, pests, and market fluctuations. But our dedication to quality never wavers.”

Lastly, Ken shares his vision for the future: “We aim to continue leading the garlic industry with integrity and innovation. Our goal is to keep providing the best garlic while being stewards of the land.”

California: The Garlic Capital of the United States

Did you know that California produces over 90% of the garlic grown in the United States? That’s right! The Golden State isn’t just famous for its wine and tech hubs, it’s also the undisputed king of garlic production. With its perfect climate and fertile soil, California is the best place for garlic to thrive. If you’re a garlic lover, you owe a big thank you to the Golden State for keeping your dishes flavorful.

Garlic Varieties: From Elephant Garlic to Softneck Types

California’s garlic farms are home to a diverse range of garlic varieties. Each has its own unique flavor profile and culinary uses. Whether you’re looking for the mild, large-cloved elephant garlic variety or the more intense softneck types, there’s something for every palate.

How Garlic is Processed at Christopher Ranch

Christopher Ranch has a good reputation not just for growing garlic, but also for its meticulous processing methods that help ensure the highest quality garlic products. The journey of garlic from field to package at Christopher Ranch involves several key steps:

  1. Harvesting: The garlic bulbs first go through careful harvesting at just the right time to ensure optimal flavor and size.
  2. Drying: After harvesting, the garlic is dried, which produces its characteristic papery skin that protect the cloves and extends shelf life.
  3. Cleaning: The garlic cloves then go through a cleaning process to remove any dirt and outer papery layers, making it ready for packaging.
  4. Sorting: Sorting by size and quality comes next. This ensures that only the best garlic products make it to the market.
  5. Packaging: Finally, the garlic is packaged in various forms such as whole bulbs, peeled cloves, and minced garlic, ready for consumer use.

“We take pride in our processing methods,” Ken Christopher explains. “Each step is crucial to maintaining the quality and flavor that Christopher Ranch garlic is known for.”

How to Ensure Your Local Market Carries CA GROWN Garlic

CA GROWN garlic is available year-round. So, why will you still see Chinese garlic on store shelves? Well, the short answer is that it’s cheaper. Obviously, we’re big fans of choosing locally grown produce whenever possible since locally grown produce is good for local economy, famers, and workers.

How to tell if the garlic you are purchasing is imported?

Domestic garlic bulbs will still have the roots attached, while imported heads of garlic will have the root ends sliced off.

Ken Christopher suggests, If you want to see California garlic at your grocery store, talk to your produce manager, write letters, write emails… because at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to make the difference.” We completely agree. 

Once you purchase garlic, it is important to store it correctly at home. Our friend Jerry James Stone has all of the tips and tricks you need to know about how to store fresh garlic at home for up to 6 months! Click here to watch his video.

Close up if garlic bulbs with purple variegation.

Now that you know how garlic is grown, savor CA GROWN garlic with these mouthwatering recipes:

Here at CA GROWN, we consider ourselves garlic aficionados. We literally can’t get enough of the good stuff, and now that we have paid a visit to Christopher Ranch, we are even more pumped about those delicious little cloves. Below are some of the mouthwatering garlic recipes that we will be making with garlic!

Garlic Recipes for Every Occasion

Garlic Butter: This recipe is a game-changer for garlic lovers. Perfect for drizzling on bread or using as a flavorful base for cooking, our garlic butter is simple yet incredibly delicious. The combination of garlic cloves, butter, and a touch of chile creates a rich and aromatic garlic butter that enhances any dish.

Roasted Garlic Ice Cream: For the adventurous foodie, roasted garlic ice cream offers a surprising blend of sweet and savory flavors. The caramelized garlic adds a unique depth to the creamy ice cream, making it a memorable dessert that will leave your taste buds intrigued.

Garlic Butter Sauce: Made with garlic cloves, butter, lemon juice, wine, and parsley, garlic butter sauce is a versatile sauce that pairs beautifully with seafood and vegetables -or simply tossed with pasta. The robust garlic flavor shines through, making it a hit at any meal.

Easy Garlic Recipes to Make on Repeat

Spicy Garlicky Clams: Elevate your seafood game with this spicy garlicky clams recipe. Fresh clams are cooked in the bold flavors of garlic, red pepper flakes, and white wine. It’s a dish that’s both spicy and savory – a perfect appetizer or main course that’s sure to impress your guests.

How to Make and Use Garlic Confit: Garlic confit involves slowly cooking garlic cloves in oil until they become tender and mellow. This method not only preserves the garlic, but also creates a flavorful oil that’s perfect for drizzling over dishes or using as a base for cooking your favorite recipes. It’s a versatile technique that every garlic lover should know.

Chili Garlic Sauce: Add a spicy kick to your meals with homemade chili garlic sauce. This recipe combines garlic, chilies, vinegar, and sugar to create a tangy and spicy condiment that’s perfect for dipping, marinating, or adding a punch of flavor to stir-fry.

Garlic confit olives in a serving dish on a cheese board.
Garlic Confit Stuffed Olives

Stuffed Olives: Garlic-stuffed olives are a delightful appetizer that’s easy to make and even easier to enjoy. The briny olives paired with the robust garlic stuffing create a harmonious balance of flavors that’s perfect for snacking or serving at parties.

Garlic Confit Marinated Tomatoes

These marinated tomatoes from No Crumbs Left are a WOW and an absolute must for summer! The beautiful tomatoes are delicious in Teri’s garlic confit herb oil, which is seasoned with shallots, basil, parsley, chive, and lemon zest.

Click here for this recipe.

The Bounty of the Golden State

California isn’t just about garlic. The Golden State is also famous for its table grapes, stone fruit, strawberries, walnuts, and many other delicious commodities. If you’re passionate about fresh, locally grown produce, make sure to follow us on Pinterest for more delicious recipe inspiration!

This article was written by Meg van der Kruik. Photo credit James Collier and Hilary Rance for California Grown.

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