Did you know these 20 facts about the artichoke?
- March 16th is National Artichoke Day.
- Nearly all artichokes grown commercially in the U.S. are grown in California.
- Production actually happens year-round, but peak harvest season occur between March and May and smaller one in October.
- Harvest takes place between 5 and 6 months after planting.
- Artichokes thrives in frost-free areas with cool, foggy summers.
- In 2016, 6,800 acres were harvested.
- A plant produces about 15 to 20 artichokes a year.
- Artichokes can be cultivated as an annual or a perennial plant.
- Artichokes are an immature flower. If left to mature, they will blossom into bright purple flowers.
- There are 50 varieties of artichokes grown worldwide. Green Globe is the predominant variety in California.
- Artichokes are native to the Mediterranean region.
- Artichokes were brought to the United States in the 1800s and were first grown in Louisiana by French immigrants and in California by the Spanish.
- The artichoke is the Official Vegetable of Monterey County in California
- Castroville, a small town in Monterey County, is the self-proclaimed “Artichoke Center of the World” since most of California’s artichokes are grown in this area.
- The world’s largest producer was Italy, with Egypt and Spain following.
- In a study done by the USDA, artichokes ranked as the number one vegetable in antioxidant count
- A large artichoke has 6 grams of dietary fiber.
- One medium artichoke has more fiber than a cup of prunes.
- Before the 16th century, women were not allowed to eat the vegetable because they were still considered to have aphrodisiac properties.
- Marilyn Monroe, who was still going by her given name, was crowned Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen.
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We aren't arti-joking around with these facts!