FTC/Disclaimer: Just like yesterday’s post, this was a sponsored/paid trip with McDonald’s. Opinions are 100% my own.
Remember the time not too long ago I had in all of my social media bio’s that I love McDonald’s? Well it still rings true, and ya better believe it I jumped to the chance when McDonald’s invited me on a field trip with them! Literally one-of-a kind trip to tour the Christopher Ranch garlic fields in Gilroy. I’ve been to a few McDonald’s event hosted at McDonald’s itself, but for some reason I had always been out of town each time they did a field trip like the one I recently went on with them, to Gilroy.
With a belly full of McDonald’s breakfast (Egg McMuffin with no Canadian Bacon please), we hopped into the luxury bus and were chauffeured to the town of garlic – Gilroy. No seriously, many of Gilroy’s logos has garlic in it somewhere, and if you’re local and a huge fan of garlic, they have a Gilroy Garlic Festival coming up at the end of this month. Since I’m “new” around these parts, I only found out about the garlic festival last summer – it’s huge!
Why Garlic, though? Because the McDonald’s Gilroy Garlic Fries are delicious, and only available for a limited time – it’ll end towards the end of summer. And since McDonald’s uses fresh ingredients, the garlic fries are only available in the Bay Area. No more heading to baseball games to get your feed of garlic fries!
Driving into Gilroy didn’t take long, about thirty minutes, and our first stop was straight to the 40 acres of garlic fields and walk on the same soil as the pickers, and watch them as they worked. They’ll start their 8 hour shift around 5am, and fill about 70 buckets throughout their day – I can only imagine the back-breaking work it is, and especially the drive to pick efficiently, as they’ll get paid $2/bucket.
One of these crates of garlic will weigh around ~2,000 pounds. Should do me for about a year, hey? Haha! They’ll plant the garlic seeds (which are originally from Italy by the way!) in September/October/November and harvest around this time til about August. Surprisingly, the fields didn’t have that aromatic scent I love, we’ll get to that in a moment though on the tour of the factories. You’ll notice there’s tons of the dried yellow garlic leaves on the ground and they tried to use every last bit of the garlic plant – and they tried to compress them for heat generation, but it doesn’t burn great. However, nothing goes to waste – even if there’s a defect in the garlic. They’ll go from bulbs, to the cracker (which cracks it into cloves) and even goes further beyond that.
For the tour of the operations, Ken Christopher (grandson of founder) gave us the grand tour with McDonald’s and showed us the behind-the-scenes of each stage of the garlic and what the process is like.
One of Christopher Ranch’s main customer is Whole Foods across the USA, and Costco – and yes including Costco Canada!!! Kind of wild to be there and know it’s at the stores back home in Canada, hey?
It was definitely quite an interesting day checking out how McDonald’s works with their suppliers to create quality ingredients that they serve at McDonald’s restaurants. If you’re local in the Bay Area, the Gilroy Garlic Festival is coming up at the end of the month, and if you’re a huge fan of garlic like myself, you’ll want to go! Thanks to McDonald’s for this awesome (and delicious) opportunity.