McDonald's Test Markets Gilroy Garlic Fries in California
Gilroy Garlic Fries are currently being tested at McDonald's restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area. Using a purée made with garlic from Gilroy, California – nicknamed the “Garlic Capital of the World” – the fries are being served in four restaurants in the South Bay.
The new menu item is made-to-order in McDonald's kitchens where restaurant employees toss french fries in stainless steel bowls with a purée mix that includes ingredients such as chopped Gilroy garlic and olive oil, parmesan cheese, parsley and a pinch of salt. The garlic fries are part of a trend at McDonald's to experiment with regional flavors and food.
McDonald's french fries are one of the most-iconic items on the menu. They are made with North American-grown, premium potatoes – including Russet Burbank, Ranger Russet, Blazer Russet, Ivory Russet, Umatilla Russet and Shepody. After farmers harvest the potatoes, they are partially fried and flash frozen. Once they arrive at the restaurant, they are cooked in a Canola oil blend and flavorings and served crispy and hot.
The garlic in McDonald's Gilroy Garlic Fries is grown in the San Joaquin Valley, approximately 80 miles south of San Francisco in Santa Clara County. The fourth-generation, family-owned Christopher Ranch in Gilroy is the largest garlic production operation in the United States and grows the garlic used in the Gilroy Garlic Fries.
"As many people know, McDonald's is committed to listening to customers as seen by All Day Breakfast," said Chef Michael Haracz, manager of culinary innovation at McDonald's USA. "We're proud of the work done by local franchisees and the regional team to create this menu item with locally-sourced garlic, and we look forward to introducing Gilroy Garlic Fries to our customers in the Bay Area."
"The response from our customers has been very positive. We enjoy giving options and bringing this local flavor to our world famous french fries," said Nick Vergis, president of the Greater Bay Area McDonald's Cooperative, which is comprised of owners and operators of McDonald's restaurants in the 15-county Bay Area region.
Pending positive customer feedback, the new menu item will be available at nearly 250 McDonald's restaurants across the San Francisco Bay Area in August.
The history of garlic cultivation in Gilroy dates back to the late 19th century, when Italian immigrants began growing the plant for personal use. Several decades later Japanese-American farmers began raising the crop commercially. It is estimated that more than 660 million pounds of garlic are harvested in Gilroy per year.
Since 1979 Gilroy has annually hosted three-day garlic festivals in July. No doubt McDonald’s Garlic Fries will be served up at this year’s event, along with garlic-infused ice cream, almonds and mustard.