Christopher Ranch

  (Gilroy, California)
Gilroy's finest. Family owned since 1956
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Garlic makes your tongue smile


Christopher Ranch’s garlic harvest is continuing, and the precious cargo is arriving by truckloads at our Gilroy “home ranch” to be graded, packed and shipped out. You can always tell it’s harvest time when the road into the ranch is strewn with the garlic chaff that flies out of the trucks. We’re at the height of our favorite season when it starts snowing garlic skins.

Garlic isn’t the only thing we’re harvesting right now. Sweet corn, yellow and white, is coming in from our fields – and how sweet it is. It’s so tasty, in fact, that you can hold the butter and save the calories! We’re also harvesting our crisp and crunchy red and green bell peppers. Garlic, corn and bells – what a perfect trio of summer flavors.

Speaking of flavor, it was the hot topic at the recent Produce Marketing Association (PMA) Foodservice Conference in Monterey, CA. Our attending sales squad, Amber (L.A. Division), Justin (Gilroy) and Anthony (New Jersey) listened to discussions focusing on flavor, safety, sustainability and consumer education, topics that Christopher Ranch is deeply invested in and has been for many years. Amber reports that PMA President, Bryan Silbermann even opened the session talking about the importance of flavor, but her favorite quote of the day (and mine) came from another attendee, “we need to make our tongues smile.” We couldn’t agree more. Flavor is what our California Grown Heirloom Garlic is all about.

Leaders of Pack: Anthony, Amber, Justin run PMA 5K, Monterey, CA

In closing PMA news… Kudos to Amber, Justin and Anthony for running the PMA FIT 5K race that kicked off the PMA Conference. Justin and Amber both finished 3rd overall in the men’s and women’s divisions, respectively, and Anthony finished in the top 25. Congrats to all for going the distance! Further kudos to Justin for “making tongues smile” with his Green Garlic Vinaigrette – it was a hit at the conference.

Our Green Garlic packaging has been updated with large lettering to make it easier to find in the produce section. How-to-use info and Justin’s recipe are on the back of the bag. If you don’t see it at your local market, please ask your produce manager about our new Baby!

We’ve also been getting lots of thumbs up for our new Peeled Garlic bags. They’re recyclable, re-sealable and tamper proof. The best part: they contain 100% natural California Grown Christopher Ranch Garlic with no additives or preservatives. FYI: always keep Peeled Garlic constantly refrigerated at cold temps (34º to 38 is best) for longest storage life.

Well, so much for writer’s block. I’ve gone on way too long, but when it comes to garlic, I just can’t say enough.  Now, go out there, pick up some Christopher Ranch California Garlic (Green or otherwise) and make your tongue smile!


Flavor Renaissance

2009 was a tough year for the restaurant industry, and many operators responded by going back to the basics: streamlining operations and keeping menus simple. New data from the NPD Group supports this strategy, indicating that one of the most effective ways to boost sales is to renew the emphasis on bold flavors.

This is exciting news for growers because the top flavors diners seek are produce items, and fresh produce happens to be an incredibly cost-effective way for restaurateurs to inject flavor into their dishes. Leading the way is garlic, a perennial favorite cited by 36% of diners as the flavor they’d most like to see more in restaurants. At Christopher Ranch, we supply California grown heirloom garlic year-round to answer this call from our restaurant partners. Also appearing on the list are citrus and berry flavors, at 21% and 17% respectively, an encouraging jump from last year’s report.

Industry leaders project that the demand for fresh, great tasting produce will continue to be the dominant menu trend moving into 2010, and the data from the diners themselves confirms these forecasts. As growers, we embrace our responsibility to provide the freshest, most flavorful, and most nutritious produce available. We encourage our colleagues in the restaurant industry to heed foodservice trends and consumer data and source ingredients that deliver the flavor experience diners seek when they eat out.

 We wish a happy holiday season to all of our friends and customers, and look forward to an exciting year in 2010!


“BRIX blasts” highlight produce at the peak of flavor


Flavor is a well-orchestrated symphony of the senses.
Nothing beats the experience of sinking your teeth into a perfectly ripe strawberry or a nice juicy peach. However, sometimes the senses fail us... ever felt the disappointment of a piece of fruit that looks and smells exquisite, but just doesn’t taste as good as anticipated? So how can you select fruit that will deliver mouth watering flavor, bite after bite, every time? Fortunately, we have another resource to support our pursuit of flavor…BRIX!

Named for Adolf Ferdinand Wenceslaus Brix who developed the scale in the 1800s, BRIX measures the concentration of dissolved solids (usually sucrose) in a solution. BRIX has long been integral in the winemaking industry to measure sugar content of grapes and determine when they are ripe for harvest (There’s even a fantastic restaurant in the Napa Valley named BRIX in tribute ). Recently, BRIX measurements have become increasingly common throughout the produce industry as a means to quantify flavor using a handy device known as a refractometer. Refractometers measure the degree to which light is refracted when passed through a solution, thus indicating the density of solids.

Customers of Pocono Produce in Northeastern Pennsylvania enjoy the benefit of weekly “Brix blasts” issued by Executive Chef Doug Petruzzi. Petruzzi and his staff use portable refractometers several times a week to determine which fruits and vegetables are extraordinarily flavorful and then communicate that information to their customers.

In field operations across the country, inspectors for retail chains take BRIX measurements to determine whether everything from melons to peppers meet quality specs. If the product makes the grade, it ships. If not, the inspectors move on to another farm, and the pursuit of flavor continues.

BRIX measurements have been integral at Christopher Ranch, where America’s leading supplier of fresh garlic works to differentiate its product from the glut of imports flooding domestic markets. While "sweet" may be the last word people would choose to describe garlic, BRIX is still instrumental in identifying the compounds that give garlic its distinct aroma and flavor. In tests conducted by a 3rd party food lab, Christopher Ranch Heirloom Garlic hammered its Chinese counterpart by a score of 38° to 29° . Every 100g of Christopher Ranch garlic contains 38g of solids including amino acids, essential oils, and other minerals, which is 23% higher than water-saturated imports. Chefs agree that this has a huge impact on the quality of their dishes, confirming that Christopher Ranch Heirloom Garlic has a more pronounced and consistent flavor than Chinese…. It’s all about the BRIX!

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