California farmers grow 100 percent of the U.S. crop of artichokes and it's no easy task. "It's funny. Here’s a hint: Dungeness crab and artichokes are delicious together. Workers begin by scouring the field looking for the right-sized artichoke, which they quickly harvest and then toss over their back into a specially made artichoke harvesting backpack called a canasta. Most of the commercial artichoke crop in the U.S. is grown in California where the main artichoke harvest happens every spring (March through June). They are all from California and the vast majority are from coastal farms near Castroville, the Artichoke Capital of the World, where artichokes are harvested year round. Artichokes & Potatoes on a Bed of Watercress, Artichokes with Poached Eggs & Hollandaise Sauce, Composed Salad of Chicken, Artichokes & Spaghettini with Green Peppercorn Mustard Dressing. If you've ever driven along the Central Coast and wondered what those plants with the overgrown green leaves are, you're not alone. Elsewhere in the country, the peak season is March through May, and then again to a lesser extent in early fall. A freeze is good for artichokes, just as it is for many foods, including carrots and most brassicas (cabbage, for example). And there's no better place to learn about artichokes than Ocean Mist Farms. Any questions related to ingredients, cooking, nutrition and eating are welcome. They are an extremely labor-intensive crop as the harvesting is done entirely by hand; and, because artichokes on the same plant mature at different times, the same field will be harvested every seven days during peak season. In an upcoming Seasonal Pantry column, I’ll be focusing on some of my favorite ways to prepare artichokes in the winter. They’re at their peak from March through May, so now is the perfect time to steam some fresh artichokes. I always say that whoever was the first person to eat an artichoke had to be either very brave or very hungry. In recent weeks I’ve seen big beautiful artichokes for reasonable prices at every market I’ve visited. Visit their website, artichokefestival.org Green Globes are abundant, delicious and cheap. They are also harvested near Oxnard from October through January and in the Coachella Valley from December through March. With just a little prep work, you’ll be on your way to artichoke heaven! From there they take it to a nearby packing truck, where each artichoke is inspected and packed. Because artichokes are abundant in early spring, it is easy to think of them as a spring crop and to be suspicious of them when they are bountiful again in the fall. Only the best of the best make it through to stores. The California climate is uniquely suited to growing this Mediterranean thistle and nearly 100% of the artichokes in the U.S. are grown in California (the majority of which are grown in Monterey County). News: The Sale of Traverso’s Market Falls Through. Just post the details in the comment section. So, I'm quite excited that April is the peak month in the prime globe artichoke growing season. How about sharing some of your favorites ways to enjoy one of California signature vegetables? His goal is to come up with at least two dozen new recipes each year that he can teach to people wondering what to do with the thorny vegetable. Michele Anna Jordan, Press Democrat columnist, chef, teacher and author of almost 20 books, draws from 17 years of columns and articles for seasonal suggestions, recipes and menus and tips on exactly where to get the finest local foods at their peak moment. It takes skill, speed and smarts out in the field to get the job done right. They are all from California and the vast majority are from coastal farms near Castroville, the Artichoke Capital of the World, where artichokes are harvested year round. At first glance, it's difficult to decipher what the plants could be. But the spring crop is much bigger and thanks to our cold temperatures, artichokes have never been better. Artichoke Seasonality. IT IS ARTICHOKE SEASON and what a glorious season it is. you may rightly wonder. R.I.P Santi: Santa Rosa Restaurant Closes, Your St. Patrick’s Day Traditions + My Recipes, Kiss Me, I’m Irish: More Than A Dozen Recipes for St. Patrick’s Day. I can eat then three times a day, simply, with nothing more than melted butter, mayonnaise or good olive oil and lemon juice. Have trouble remembering what’s in season when? At the end of this post, you’ll find links to recipes that do a bit more with California’s signature thistle. Don’t, as these artichokes, which the industry calls “frosted” because it is freezing temperatures that cause this appearance, are among the most tender and most delicious of all artichokes. If you're not sure what to do with an artichoke once you get it home from the store, Monterey chef Tony Baker is your man. Large artichokes at Santa Rosa’s G & G Market last weekend, $1.39 each. Artichokes … "I find most people are somewhat intimidated, but once they learn what to do with them, it's a lot of fun and they enjoy them. But look a little closer and you'll discover one of the hidden beauties of California agriculture: artichokes! While California artichokes are available throughout the year, peak season is March through May and again to a smaller degree in October. What and where are your favorite pancakes? To find out more about Ocean Mist Farms, see Tony's recipe for baked artichokes or join the Ocean Mist Artichoke club, visit  www.oceanmist.com. You can read about them in today’s Seasonal Pantry here. And, yes, she takes requests. Getting to the heart of artichoke season in California. The folks there have been devoted to growing the thorny thistles since 1924 and today Ocean Mist is the largest artichoke grower in North America. In California, artichokes are grown pretty much year round. Here in California, artichoke culture is expanding into the hot, dry Central Valley. Artichoke & Green Olive Tapenade In this Pairing column, I combine roasted marrow bones with this fabulous tapenade, which can be used separately as an appetizer, a sandwich spread, a pasta sauce, a topping for polenta or with risotto. UPDATE: This post was originally written in the fall, when there was an excellent crop of California artichokes. In the meantime, here are some favorite recipes from the Seasonal Pantry archives. What's in Season: Artichokes Don't be afraid of these versatile vegetables. Looking for a favorite recipe from the Seasonal Pantry or Pairing archives? Where are these fall artichokes from? A second, smaller crop grows for a fall harvest. Labor represents 40 to 60 percent of the growing … Thorny thistle is tricky to harvest, easy to enjoy. California farmers grow 100 percent of the U.S. crop of artichokes and it's no easy task. Just name the dish or even a few of the ingredients and, like magic, you’ll find the recipe here in no time. When you’re selecting artichokes, do you avoid those that seem to have brown shadings on the outer leaves? Sources: WhatsCookingAmerica.com, California Artichoke Advisory Board. He's been working with Ocean Mist Farms for the past 11 years to create simple and delicious recipes using artichokes. Come and celebrate the 2020 Artichoke Festival, which will be held on May 30th and 31st at the Monterey County Fairgrounds. In the US, California produces close to 100% of all of our artichokes. 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2020 california artichoke season