Thanks to McDonald’s of the Greater Bay Area for sponsoring this post/trip, opinions are 100% my own.
I will never look at garlic the same way, ever again. This week, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Christopher Ranch in Gilroy, California, where they are famous for GARLIC!
The experience came my way via an invitation from McDonald’s and their Field to Restaurant program, where they took us on site to visit their locally sourced farm, for garlic. The garlic they source for GILROY GARLIC FRIES!
If you’re not from California, you may not be too familiar with this delicious dish, but for those of us from Northern California, garlic fries have been a staple at many local ball games and sporting/event venues in the area…and they are YUM-MY! So to be able to order it from the golden arches is a true treat. The thing is, they are only available for a limited time, and only in McDonald’s of the Greater Bay Area through the end of summer…so get them while you can!
So, I was really excited to have the chance to visit the Christopher Ranch in person and get a firsthand look at what it takes to create this fragrant seasoning. Our first stop of the tour was to the garlic fields, where workers were harvesting the garlic bulbs. We learned that garlic is planted in the fall and needs 9 months to grow before being harvested in the summer months, so being as it’s July, the harvest was in full swing.
Working on garlic
braiding @CRanch1956 #McDSupplierTour @McD_BayArea pic.twitter.com/VaB6QZh0fL
— 53 Weeks
(@53Weeks) July 11,
After that we went to Christopher Ranch headquarters…where it was much more aromatic! 😉 Christopher Ranch is a family-owned business with deep roots in the community. And in addition to being famous for garlic, Gilroy is also well-known for the city’s annual garlic festival, founded in part by the Christopher family.
While there, we went through the various areas of the facility to see how the garlic is handled and processed once it comes in from the field. It’s not an easy (or inexpensive) crop, and every bulb of garlic is touched by at least one human hand before it reaches the consumer.
And – here’s another cool tidbit I picked up on, Christopher Ranch doesn’t allow any garlic to go to waste. From bulbs, to cloves, chopped or otherwise…garlic is in high demand. So much so, that when McDonald’s debuted their (specially formulated) garlic fries last year, they didn’t have enough garlic set aside for the “mix” to meet the overwhelming demand…and this year, they’re making sure there will be enough garlic fries for all to get a taste!