gmhTODAY 24 gmhTODAY Feb March 2019 | Page 27

“The future of garlic in Gilroy is bright. Consumers are thinking differently about food, looking for quality and safety. We are proud to offer both, with an all-American brand from seed to harvest, production, and retail.” Ken Christopher Executive Vice President Christopher Ranch Ken Christopher traces his farming heritage to Ole Christopher who came to California from Denmark to work the land. In 1956, Ole’s grandson Don started Christopher Ranch with 13 acres in Gilroy. Today, the Ranch is the nation’s largest garlic producer with 5,500 acres and an annual harvest of over 100 million pounds of garlic. Ken grew up learning the family business from his grandfather Don and his father Bill. He earned an MBA from the University of San Francisco. Now in his early 30s, Ken serves as Executive Vice President of Christopher Ranch. He focuses on strategy, administration, and sales operations and is equally passionate about advances in agriculture and corporate social responsibility. Ken helps guide the Ranch’s sustainability efforts, from organic farming, use of cold storage, and energy effi cient technology, to production, packaging and recycling upgrades. He has fl own to Washington DC to build bipartisan congressional support for the US garlic industry and to testify before the US International Trade Commission in support of garlic tariffs. Ken is a steward of his family’s legacy of ag leadership and local philanthropy. Christopher Ranch put Gilroy on the map as the Garlic Capitol of the World. Ken’s family helped launch the Gilroy Garlic Festival and have been part of its 41-year history of success, donating tons of fresh garlic every year. Christopher High School bears the family name in honor of their generous donations and support over three generations. They also give to local nonprofi ts that serve at-risk youth. Ken lives in San Martin. He enjoys exploring other cultures through travel abroad. At home, he enjoys hiking in the Santa Cruz Mountains with his two Siberian Huskies. 27