In the early 1890's, Ole Christopher left Denmark for the long journey to America. He had heard stories about the dark, fertile soil of America's "salad bowl," and knew he'd found the ideal spot for his family to settle when he first set eyes on beautiful Santa Clara Valley.
Like many immigrants, Ole labored long and hard to make his dreams a reality, eventually purchasing a tract of land ideal for planting an orchard. For the next twenty years the Christopher family continued to add to their holdings, until they became one of the largest growers of prunes in the Santa Clara Valley. Don Christopher, Ole's grandson, grew up on that original ranch, working side by side with his father in the orchards. Then, in 1956, Don set out to create a ranch of his own.
Buying a plot of land in Gilroy - just ten miles south of where he was raised - Don and his brother Art decided to try their luck with a new kind of crop: Garlic. Experimenting with European varieties allowed them to carve out a unique niche in the world of Santa Clara Valley produce.
Over time, Don turned more and more of his holdings to garlic cultivation - in particular the French and Italian varieties, which produce bigger and more flavorful bulbs. Along the way he co-founded the Gilroy Garlic Festival, an annual event that has transformed Gilroy into the "Garlic Capital of the World".
Ole's great grandson, Bill, is now at the helm of Christopher Ranch, which he stewards with the same steadiness of purpose and dedication to quality that has been the hallmark of the family business for over 50 years. Still tending seed stock that is now designated heirloom, Bill is focused on what lies ahead for the next 50 years of family farming in the Santa Clara Valley.