Christopher Ranch predicts strong garlic crop this season
Although the continuing impact of the pandemic on business is still obvious, Christopher Ranch is looking forward to its annual harvest beginning in June.
“We are getting closer to more approved capacity and additional restaurant openings, and we really hope that will get things back on track,” said Anthony DeAngelis, director of East Coast sales and operations for the Gilroy, CA-based company, who works out of Edison, NJ.
As a third-generation, family-owned business, Christopher Ranch happens to be the biggest supplier of domestically-grown garlic in the U.S.
“Our proprietary seed has yielded a consistently high-flavored garlic that has stood the ‘taste-test’ of time, and continues to be high on the list for top chefs and consumer palates,” DeAngelis said. “Also, unlike many other growers, we have invested in our own facilities across the country for storage and distribution, so we can ship and store the product right, and directly distribute to our customers locally, like from our facility here in New Jersey to our customers in the Northeast.”
Christopher Ranch has operated in New Jersey since 1992, and over time has grown its business considerably within the industry and the area.
“Over these past 29 years, we have grown out of two previous smaller facilities into our current location,” DeAngelis said. “From Edison, we can conveniently provide our customers with local service weekly in the tristate area of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania, and reach down to the mid-Atlantic states and up into New England.”
Although a relatively small team in the state, he noted many employees have been there for several years and are very dedicated to contributing to an efficient and professional service for all customers.
Garlic is its most important crop, and so far, it’s hearing good things about having a quality crop with good yield this season.
“We are hopeful the weather in California cooperates to get us through our harvest without any significant negative weather, but we always look ahead to new supply opportunities with customers and prospects,” DeAngelis said. “Our fresh garlic is the perfect complement to fresh Jersey tomatoes, and stacked high with tomatoes and even avocados and basil, fresh garlic makes a profitable, colorful and flavorful contribution to any retail display.”
The company continues to see a growth in demand for organics. This year, with the sway in businesses from the pandemic, it has also seen greater demand for its retail products, including bulk garlic, retail-size peeled garlic and even jarred products.
“This was a natural evolution though, as more people were spending more time at home, and also had limited restaurant access in many areas,” DeAngelis said.
Christopher Ranch is facing the same challenges that many in the produce industry are, with labor being a major issue as the calendar turns towards the summer.
“Hiring is a big challenge, for as many responses we have had for employment, very few applicants actually showed up for interviews or responded further to our requests for more information or to fill out an application,” DeAngelis said. “Fortunately, our staff really is dedicated and we have found a way to persevere.”