Farmers have inherently been stewards of the land in order to ensure the continuation of crops from year to year – and Christopher Ranch is no exception. We have been growing California garlic since 1956, and our commitment to sustainable farming is stronger than ever. In keeping with that commitment, we started growing organic products in 1995.
We were one of the first growers to use drip irrigation. Drip irrigation puts water and fertilizer right at the base of each plant, only where it’s needed. Today, almost all of our crops are on drip irrigation saving thousands of gallons of water each year and significantly decreasing our use of fertilizer and pesticides.
We have stringent field rotation programs to prevent over farming of the soil. We also change our growing areas to preserve soil quality and prevent overuse of resources in those areas.
We have significantly reduced petroleum based packaging materials, like plastic and cellophane. We have eliminated white cardboard and continue to phase out laminates to make all packaging recyclable. We maximize post-consumer materials for our packaging when available, and work with all of our suppliers to insure that we have the most environmentally friendly and up to date packaging available.
Christopher Ranch has an Extensive Metal Recycling program for our old equipment and scrap metal, and we provide our offices with easy access to recycling bins for cans/bottles/mixed paper. We have implemented electronic invoicing and transmission of company communications internally and to our customers. Even the excess garlic skins from our packing lines are used in agricultural feeding so that every part of the garlic is used!
We have several methods to reduce energy use and improve sanitation. We have a preventative maintenance program that assesses load rates, amperage, etc., to maintain motors at high efficiency. We have switched from propane to electric forklifts, and updated our trucking fleet to address current and future emission standards.
Our storm water system cleans storm water and debris prior to being percolated back into our farm, which then recharges local aquifers. We have installed an ozone cleaning system to reduce chemical usage needed when cleaning equipment, and we have a fully enclosed wash system for our forklifts and trucks so no oils flow from the wash pad. Our processing plant has complete wash-down capability for sanitation. All water used on the ranch is recycled into our orchards and eventually back into the aquifers.
We have added Variable Frequency Drives (VFD) where appropriate at our home ranch in Gilroy. VFD’s are a type of motor controller that can adjust speed and can save a significant amount of electricity and in turn reduce our carbon footprint. We have been actively retrofitting with VFD’s throughout the production areas of the Ranch, specifically our wells, fans and condensers.