Artichoke Harvest Begins!

It's that time of year again! Castroville's spring artichoke harvest is now underway. Expect to find big, fresh, green globes in your local grocery stores. The usual harvest begins mid-March and lasts through May. COO of Ocean Mist Farms says that "Spring is the peak time for quality and size"... Ocean Mist Farms harvests almost all of the 6,000 artichoke farmland in Monterey County. That's a lot of crops! $66.6 million worth (in 2008)!

It takes around 140 full-time harvesters and an extra 60 new hires to run through all the artichoke crops. Unlike the poor strawberry crops, the rain didn't put too big of a damper on the fields. VP of artichoke production at Ocean Mist Farms describes these babies as "slow-growing with good, meaty hearts, and the petals are as meaty and fleshy as it gets."

If you are in the Bay Area I suggest you drive down for a fun day/weekend in Monterey and stop at the
Giant Artichoke Restaurant (11261 Merritt Street, Castroville). Go into their market area and grab yourself some of their deep fried artichoke hearts with some ranch sauce to dip them into. You will feel uber greasy after, but they are delish! My family and I have been stopping here for years to grab these tasty treats, along with the occasional Dr. Pepper, watermelon candies, and bags of chips. Such a great little stop during the [not] long drive!

- Heads-up thanks go to The Californian for their article on the recent artichoke harvest.

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