Happy Artichoke Season!! Here on the Central Coast, artichoke lovers are looking forward to Castroville’s Artichoke Food & Wine Festival. And so am I. Castroville is the artichoke capital of the world. In 1922, Andrew Molera planted the first artichoke shoots in Castroville. In 1923, there were nine artichoke growers and within four years, it increased to fifty growers and 12,000 acres of artichokes both in the castroville and Monterey Bay Area. It was the Spanish settlers who brought the artichokes to California.
A Short History of the Castroville Artichoke Festival
The Castroville Artichoke Festival started as an annual May Day Parade, focusing on marching bands. In November 1959, Philip P. Marinovich( leader and chief instructor of The Phil Marinovich Marching Units)told members of the community that the marching band winners were asked to return their trophies for the next competition. It was unanimous that the community needed to come together to have an organized fundraiser. And so the decision to have a festival was made.
Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen was Mrs. Sally DeSante Hebert,crowned in 1961. Mrs. Hebert was born in Carmel and grew up in Castroville. She was involved in American Cancer Society, and other civic-minded organizations.
Marilyn Monroe was given the honorary title of Artichoke Queen in 1947 during a visit to the Monterey Bay Area
Today the Castroville Festival takes place in the monterey fair grounds. They have expanded the variety of artichoke dishes by serving artichoke cupcakes, artichoke tamales . And last but not least, WINE!!
To celebrate the season of Artichoke’s, i put an easy recipe together for you that’s both garlicky and artichokey