There has been a resur­gence of Cal­i­for­nia gar­lic, both in con­sumer demand and also in pro­duc­tion. The 2018 Cal­i­for­nia gar­lic crop will heighten that trend.

Christo­pher Ranch, California’s largest gar­lic sup­plier, reports fan­tas­tic pro­duc­tion lev­els this year, the likes of which have not been seen in years. Great news for gar­lic lovers.

Ken Christo­pher, Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent for the com­pany, announced their fore­cast this sea­son to be about 100 mil­lion pounds of gar­lic.

“Demand for organic gar­lic has been explo­sive and it is the fastest-​growing busi­ness seg­ment”, Ken Christo­pher said.

The com­pany har­vested 5 mil­lion pounds of organic gar­lic last year and expect to har­vest 10 mil­lion pounds of organic gar­lic in 2018. By far, this is the biggest organic crop ever for Christo­pher Ranch. This will be the first year they are expected to have a 100 per­cent Cal­i­for­nia organic pro­gram.

The two most preva­lent vari­eties grown com­mer­cially in Cal­i­for­nia are Cal­i­for­nia Early and Cal­i­for­nia Late. Early gar­lic har­vest begins in June and con­tin­ues for a cou­ple of weeks. Early gar­lic inven­to­ries will last for about five months.

Early gar­lic will typ­i­cally size up a lit­tle larger, but also tends to have more stain­ing because it is har­vested closer to the time fields see rain.

Late gar­lic har­vests begin in July and rep­re­sents about 80 per­cent of total gar­lic vol­ume.

This crop is more uni­form in siz­ing than the early gar­lic and typ­i­cally has a more creamy fin­ish. The two vari­eties look fairly sim­i­lar.

Fresh gar­lic is packed in field bins of 2,000 pounds. When gar­lic is packed, it is run across indus­trial heaters that warm the gar­lic to make bulbs eas­ier to clean.

As the largest gar­lic pro­duc­ing state, Cal­i­for­nia pro­duces over 90 per­cent of com­mer­cial gar­lic grown in the United States. The impor­tance to our nation as a food source is crit­i­cal when con­sid­er­ing the com­pet­i­tive prac­tices used by other coun­tries.

Issues of tar­iffs may soon come into play as farm­ers com­pete with the prac­tice of dump­ing or flood­ing the mar­ket with cheaper gar­lic or inflat­ing prices.

Not all gar­lic is cre­ated equal. Cal­i­forn­ian is bold on fla­vor. Heir­loom seed stock and sus­tain­able fam­ily farm­ing tra­di­tions make domes­tic gar­lic highly prized.
Whole, chopped, crushed or minced – look for sat­is­fac­tion in this season’s bumper gar­lic crop.

To read the full Mar­ket Report, includ­ing this week’s mar­ket update, see below or click here.

Market Report page 1

Market Report page 2

Market Report page 3

Market Report page 4

Music venues and out­door con­certs get a lot of traf­fic all sum­mer long. Indi­vid­ual tastes run the spec­trum from rock, blues and coun­try to reg­gae, pop and rap.

Clas­si­cal sum­mer choices fea­ture Mozart and Bach. If sym­phonies and operas don’t res­onate, try a dif­fer­ent type of sum­mer jam.

Peak of sea­son fruits beg for pre­serv­ing in some fash­ion. We can’t eat it all no mat­ter how hard we try. Jams, jel­lies, com­potes and mar­malades allow the essence of sum­mer to be cel­e­brated in a jar.

Sin­gle small batched jams can be achieved in a short period of time, mak­ing the process rel­a­tively pain­less. In just an hour of invest­ment, fruit can be trans­formed in to a mag­nif­i­cent jarred treat.

Like most other food endeav­ors, we get out of it what we put in to it. Qual­ity going in means qual­ity in the jar. Pick or pur­chase high-​quality fruit at its peak for fla­vor, tex­ture, and color. Skip mushy, over­ripe, and dis­eased fruit.

Read more: Sum­mer Jams →

Nes­tled between Mount Dia­blo and the Sacramento-​San Joaquin Delta in the East Bay, Brent­wood, Cal­i­for­nia is renowned for grow­ing excep­tional fresh mar­ket pro­duce.

In par­tic­u­lar, sum­mer cher­ries, peaches and delec­table sweet corn are what local mar­kets and chefs cel­e­brate.

Hot Cen­tral Val­ley days and cool, off-​shore breezes at night make it the per­fect loca­tion for grow­ing sweet corn.

The cobs are picked dur­ing the early milk stage of ker­nel matu­rity, when sugar con­tent and mois­ture lev­els are high. This is in con­trast to field corn, which is har­vested in the dry, starchy dent stage. Over the last cen­tury, sweet corn pro­duc­tion in the U.S. has increased as farm­ers and geneti­cists have devel­oped hardier and sweeter vari­eties.

To clar­ify, most of the corn grown in the United States is the com­mod­ity crop known as field corn. It is used as ani­mal feed, ethanol, whiskey and goes into all kinds of processed foods and food ingre­di­ents. High-​fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and corn oil.

Read more: Brent­wood Diamonds →

What’s a sip of mojito or slice of key lime pie with­out the bright­ness of fresh lime juice? Lack­ing for starters.

Lucky then that limes are avail­able year round to impart their aro­matic, tangy good­ness.

Under­stand­ing the vari­etal dif­fer­ences in limes might be use­ful for the best choices in culi­nary appli­ca­tions.

Although there are other cit­rus species that are referred to as “limes”, the Per­sian lime is the most widely cul­ti­vated lime species com­mer­cially grown. It accounts for the largest share of the fruits sold as limes.

Extremely fla­vor­ful, Per­sian limes are a key ingre­di­ent in regional cuisines world­wide. Also known as Tahit­ian or Bearss, Per­sian limes deliver an intensely tart fla­vor to your dishes and cock­tails. Typ­i­cally sold while still dark green, they become light green to a mild yel­low as they ripen.

Read more: Sub­lime Times →

Cal­i­for­nia pear farm­ing areas are arguably in some of the most desir­able and beau­ti­ful places in the state.

The beauty of his­toric pear orchards con­tributes sig­nif­i­cantly to the appeal of com­mu­ni­ties such as Court­land and Clarks­burg, located in the Sacra­mento River Delta grow­ing region.

Lake­port and Kelseyville rep­re­sent the Lake County pear grow­ing dis­trict. Ukiah, in the Men­do­cino grow­ing dis­trict, rounds out the real estate.

Together these grow­ing areas pro­duce approx­i­mately 150,000 tons of pears each year. The vol­ume of pears pro­duced in Cal­i­for­nia has declined in recent years, as has the num­ber of pear farm­ers.

Even so, the Cal­i­for­nia pear indus­try remains a lead­ing sup­plier of pears to the world.

Read more: Cal­i­for­nia Pears →

Any kind of sum­mer sur­plus should be met with com­plete culi­nary abandonment.

Fresh herbs in par­tic­u­lar have a way of ele­vat­ing most cre­ations. Don’t let their sheer abun­dance go to waste.

Trans­form those “tried and true” old dishes into some­thing extra­or­di­nary. Herbs have an unfor­get­table bright­ness that cat­a­pults ho-​hum up to OMG!

Clas­sic sal­ads are reju­ve­nated with an addi­tion of chopped green herbs. Cilantro, mint and Ital­ian pars­ley perk up any green, pasta or potato salad. Com­bine a cou­ple to deliver a new take on favored Cae­sar, Cobb and Chopped versions.

Herbed but­ters and herb-​infused oils are largely irre­sistible with grilled meats and veg­eta­bles. Finely minced tar­ragon, pars­ley, oregano or basil beg for a chance with soft­ened but­ter and gar­lic for breads, pasta, seafood and fish.

Read more: “Dilly, Dilly“ →