Christopher Ranch’s California Garlic Blog

It’s no mystery that fresh garlic is one of the most popular, versatile ingredients ever. What remains relatively unknown, however, are the distinct flavor, quality and health differences associated with varying garlic varieties. Christopher Ranch, a family farm in Gilroy, Calif., grows a California heirloom garlic that is a leader in each category. All Garlic Is Not Created Equal. We’ll show you why.

Archive for Gilroy Garlic Festival

FESTIVAL FEVER

Just a short communiqué this time around, garlic lovers, as I’m headed out to the Gilroy Garlic Festival. The garlic scampi is calling me and I must heed the call…

First stop, though, is the Christopher Ranch booth. It’s loaded with 2,500 gorgeous garlic braids, 5,000 lbs. of our new crop California Heirloom Garlic bulbs and 7,000 jars of Chopped and Crushed Garlic, Pesto Sauce, Garlic Ginger Stir-Fry, Organic Garlic and more to celebrate Gilroy’s gastronomic garlic gala. Ahhh, the sweet smell of the stinking rose!

Check out the photos of our hardworking CR booth set-up crew. They are worth their weight in California Heirloom Garlic. Yours truly, Garlicia, is behind the camera.

I’ll have some SPECIAL NEWS about Christopher Ranch’s signature garlic on August 1. Our CR California Heirloom Garlic has a story to tell…

NATIONAL GARLIC DAY LASTS A LIFETIME

April is hoppin’ with holidays (I count April 14, the day I send my taxes in, as one) but it’s April 19, that stands out at Christopher Ranch because it’s National Garlic Day. We didn’t create it – every day is Garlic Day here – but if we had, it’s safe to say that we would have picked a warm, sunny harvest day in July* or maybe Don or Bill Christopher’s birthday, but a cool, crisp, damp day in April, probably not.

I have searched for the origin of NatGarDay and come up empty. I can’t find the tiniest clue as to the who, the what or the where of it – but no matter. We know why there’s a day set aside. The aroma of garlic is enough to give us pause, but the flavor… well, it’s certainly worth a 24 hour observance, if not more. Gilroy’s unofficial holiday, the Gilroy Garlic Festival, is a three day allium-a-thon, and I have to remark that the Christopher Family has dedicated a lifetime (and more) to garlic.

Although one day of national recognition doesn’t seem like enough, we’ll take it, because we never pass up an opportunity to put garlic in the spotlight, extol its virtues and savor its flavorful goodness. California Garlic, we salute you today, tomorrow, on April 19, and will continue to do so throughout an exquisitely delicious lifetime.

*Garlic FYI: All California Grown Garlic is harvested in the summer months from June to August.

 

BYE, BYE, BABY (GARLIC)

With a heavy heart, I must report that Christopher Ranch will no longer be growing, packing or shipping Green Garlic. Green garlic is an extremely labor intensive crop from the planting, to the harvesting, to the marketing, and although we nurtured and cared deeply for our “baby” for the last 12 months, it became increasingly difficult to reconcile the costs involved in production. Eating green garlic, however, was effortless and that experience we will truly miss. By way of consolation, Christopher Ranch still has 60 million pounds of fresh, heirloom California garlic to offer you each year including our peeled and roasted garlic, and jarred garlic products.  I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel better already…

To further ease the blow, here’s my favorite all-time garlic recipe containing enough garlic to knock the melancholy right out of you. Don’t be thrown off by the fragrance of it when cooking – it’s so worth the few minutes of “what’s that smell?” in your kitchen. This fabulous chicken dish was created by Kelly Greene, and was unanimously chosen as the First Place Winner in the very first Gilroy Garlic Festival Recipe Contest and Cook-off.  I’d be willing to bet that it will take first place in your list of favorite recipes as well.  Ajo accolades to Kelly for this amazing dish.

KELLY’S ASIAN CHICKEN

1           3 1/2    lb. frying chicken, cut into serving size pieces, or the equivalent in chicken parts of your choice

3           tbls. peanut oil

1           bulb (not clove) fresh garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped

2           small dried hot red peppers (optional)

3/4       cup distilled white vinegar

1/4        cup soy sauce

3            tbls. honey

Heat oil in large, heavy skillet and brown chicken well on all sides, adding garlic and peppers toward the end. Add remaining ingredients and cook over medium high heat until chicken is done and sauce has been reduced somewhat. This will not take long, less than 10 minutes. If you are cooking both white and dark meat, remove white meat first, so it does not dry out. Watch very carefully so that the sauce does not burn or boil away. There should be a quantity of sauce left to serve with the chicken, and the chicken should appear slightly glazed. Serve with Chinese noodles, pasta or rice.

Garlicia’s recommendations:  use Christopher Ranch California Garlic, of course, and double the sauce because it’s soooooo garliciously good.  Enjoy!

GARLICIA’S TIDBITS – VIVA LA DIVA!

I’m reeking, I mean reeling, with the news that Beyonce is gaga for garlic. I should have known that’s where the diva-tacular Sasha Fierce gets her sass, spirit, radiance and energy. I just hope the spicy, garlic-coated chicken legs she craves are coated in California garlic. Girl, don’t put anything other than the real deal on them – bold, flavorful CR California Garlic. Your platinum pipes deserve the very best. (B, if you send me your recipe, there’s some California garlic in it for you.)

Christopher Ranch is anxiously awaiting the appearance of its new diva – Green Garlic. Our first harvest is scheduled to come in in the next few days – possibly National Garlic Day, April 19, (how appropriate) – so we’re getting ready to roll out the green carpet! This tender beauty will make your favorite foods sing.

There are only 100 days left until the Gilroy Garlic Festival. It’s the diva of all food fests, the largest and most spectacular of its kind in the world. Mark the date, July 23-25, for three days of fun, cook-offs, music, friendly people, and the number one reason 100,000 garlic lovers show up every year – delectable, garlicious, food, food, food. Christopher Ranch is the Official Garlic of the Gilroy Garlic Festival, natch!

If you’re ready to wash down these tidbits, and celebrate your inner diva or divo (you know who you are…), try this tasty little beverage. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present:

THE DIVA COCKTAIL – GARLICIA STYLE

1½     oz. vodka

½        oz. fresh lime juice

1          tbls. cherry juice

½       oz. passion fruit juice

Club soda or 7-UP

Christopher Ranch Pickled Garlic Cloves

Fill a tall glass or Collins glass with ice and add the first 4 ingredients. Top off with club soda or 7-up. Garnish with a cherry, lime wedge, and at least 2 Christopher Ranch Pickled Garlic Cloves. Oooh, I can taste it… diva-licious.