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


Just a couple of weeks ago I was whining about how cold it was. Well, it’s been in the 90’s for a few days and, already, I’ve had enough. I feel for the parts of the U.S. that are undergoing non-stop sweat.  The heat is not my friend (I melt…), but in our neck of the woods right now, it does bring some good things…

•After harvest, our fresh California garlic bulbs love to hang out in their sunny wind-rows (see photo) for about 12 days to get nice and dry and ready for market

•Our sweet corn is getting sweeter by the minute and the ears I had yesterday were crunchy wonderful.

 •Our beautiful bell peppers are in the process of being picked and packed (the pickling up to you!)

So, I’m inclined to welcome the sunshine and the heat because it brings us all good things to eat! Ooof, I did just say that, ya’ll, but it’s so true and tasty. 

One more thing the heat brings… The Gilroy Garlic Festival.  But GGF weather is capricious… misty cool in the mornings and blazing hot in the afternoon – all the better to eat, drink, dance and revel in garlicville! So I’ll enjoy the cool time and drink plenty of water when the sun starts to melt my garlic ice cream.

I’ve been to every Gilroy Garlic Festival, all 32 of them (soon to be 33), and I’ve worked in the Christopher Ranch booth every year. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be absent at this time of year, leaving Gilroy and garlic and 100,000 “visitors” behind to go sit up to my neck in a cool body of water somewhere. But the lure of garlic is like the lure of chocolate. I just can’t get enough, have to have it, and the minute I step onto the festival grounds, no matter how tired or cranky or over it I am, the sight, the smell, and the excitement of it all just grabs me and propels me into the heart of garlitopia. I can’t deny that it’s also the scampi, the calamari and the garlic bread, but the beauty of 100,000 people all on the same page, thinking about garlic, eating garlic, looking at garlic and enjoying the heck out of garlic just makes me feel connected to a very robust and delicious world – if only for that fleeting last weekend in July.

Hope to see you there, July 29-31. GO GARLIC!



Just did the FPFC Expo and, boy, are my arms tired… arrr, stretched an old joke too far, but I just wanted to get your attention. If you’re still reading this, FPFC stands for the Fresh Produce and Floral Council, and it’s made up of professionals in the produce and floral industries that do business in the Western region of the U.S. FPFC was a good opportunity for us to meet and greet customers and show off CR’s products so my colleague, Roggie, and I headed to Pleasanton, CA, loaded up with garlic, props and energy to do our initial booth set-up.

Three hours later, a bit beat by the schlepping, the stacking and the arranging, we were happy that all our “stuff” fit nicely in our 10 by 10 foot space. We figured this pre-prep would give us more time for final touches the next morning… uh, huh. As Oprah says, the angels in the details, but I subscribe to the old school saying – it’s the devils – because those last minute details can suck the life right out of you.  Fortified with coffee (thank you FPFC for having it hot and ready) we put the tweak on our booth, finished our product display and put our demo dish on warm – or should I say “stun” – because it turned out to be a pretty tasty addition to our booth.

Getting people to taste a mélange of peeled specialty onions, shallots and garlic (especially in the a.m.) took a little finagling so Rog, Katie (from our Los Angeles Division) and I put our powers of persuasion to work. Once the adventurous and just plain curious dared give our demo dish a try, we had them. People that would never look twice at an onion were surprised at the rich, delicious flavor emanating from these little beauties. Even Chef Todd, who was performing culinary calisthenics next door to our booth, gave me a thumbs-up on this recipe – and you can take that to the banquet! 


6        oz. Christopher Ranch Peeled Pearl Onions                       

6         oz. Christopher Ranch Peeled Cipolline Onions

6         oz. Christopher Ranch Peeled Shallots

2         tbls. extra virgin olive oil

4         tbls. butter

5         cloves Christopher Ranch Peeled California Garlic

2         cups chicken stock or canned broth

10       oz. frozen or canned in water artichoke hearts – drained and cut in half lengthwise

2         cups fresh or frozen peas

Preheat oven to 400°F.  Cut cipollines and shallots in half if larger than pearls. Place onions, shallots and 2 whole cloves garlic in baking dish. Add olive oil and toss all until well coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until tender and golden, about 35 minutes, turning all occasionally. Melt 2 tbls. butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 cloves minced garlic, sauté 1 minute. Add chicken stock; boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Add onions, garlic, artichokes and peas; simmer until peas are crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add 2 tbls. butter; stir until melted. Serves 4-6 as a side dish. Great served over rice.   

P.S. We’d like to thank our reps at Edge for taking good care of us at the show.