Always in Season: Artichokes AIS_Monterey_EXP123116_1280x642

Always in Season: Artichokes

Always in Season: Artichokes
See and sample the Central Coast's signature globes

Driving the rolling coastal hills and oceanfront valleys of the Central Coast is like driving through a visual guide to California produce—lettuce, snap peas, strawberries, and other crops flourish in the rich soils and cool temperatures of the region. One of the region’s most distinctive crops is the artichoke, particularly around the rural town of Castroville, 19 miles northeast of Monterey. The town, nicknamed “the Artichoke Capital of the World,” is home to Ocean Mist Farms, a major producer of artichokes and other crops on farms dotting the length of California. Fourth-generation farmer Troy Boutonnet, vice president of production for Ocean Mist, regularly checks on the company’s 3,000 acres of artichoke fields. “Because of the north-south length of the state, we get a year-round production of the best vegetables in the entire United States,” says Troy.

99.99% percent of all commercially grown artichokes are from California

Farm stands along Highway One near Castroville sell artichokes and related products, a great way to get just-picked globes to cook yourself. Another delicious option: sample dishes featuring the signature vegetable at area restaurants, such as Montrio Bistro in Monterey. Montrio’s chef Tony Baker is a huge fan of Ocean Mist artichokes, and of Troy Boutonnet’s commitment to quality produce, noting Troy is a “boots-on-the-ground farmer” who is “really part of the day-to-day running of the company, starting with the plants in the ground.”

That commitment to quality produce complements Chef Tony’s passion for fresh, sustainable, local ingredients, like Ocean Mist artichokes. One of his favorite ways to prepare them is to fire roast the globes then serve them with roasted eggplant and balsamic apple vinaigrette. “Some people say that an artichoke is a little too much work, but it’s not like a plate of food where you just scarf it down,” says Chef Tony. “It takes time, it takes effort. And that makes them all the more enjoyable.”

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Artichokes and Chef Tony Baker
See why the chef/partner at Monterey's sophisticated Montrio restaurant is such a fan of the region's local crops, especially Ocean Mist artichokes.
Dinosaur Cave Park/Shell Beach, San Luis Obispo County
Mimi Ditchie/Getty Images

Discover the Central Coast

From the epic grandeur of Big Sur to the Mediterranean-style stretch of Santa Barbara coastline nicknamed “the American Riviera,” this region of picturesque hamlets, jagged sea cliffs, and rolling wine country has long attracted—not surprisingly—writers and artists mesmerized by its dreamlike beauty.

Monterey served as California’s first capital when the state’s first constitution was signed in in the coastal city in 1849.

Take the epic Highway One drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles to discover secret beaches and soaring cliffs along Big Sur, stroll a redwood trail, spy a sea otter at the incomparable Monterey Bay Aquarium, and sip Pinot Noir at sunset in the romantic Santa Ynez Valley.

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Mediterranean style magic and a perfect ocean breeze

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Castroville produces 95 percent of the nation's artichokes. In 1948, Marilyn Monroe was crowned the town's first "Artichoke Queen."
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Highway One Classic

Take the trip that captures the heart and soul of the Golden State
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Start in one of California’s sunniest destinations, not just in terms of the weather, but also in attitude. In the heart of the city, shop in Horton Plaza, or catch a baseball game at Petco Park. See the giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo. Next, explore one of the city’s diverse neighborhoods,...

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Finish your trip in one of the world’s great cities. For a novel way to visit “the City by the Bay” park your car and explore by foot, bike, and unique public transportation. Pedal bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, then explore the lush Presidio, a former military base that’s now a...

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Visit vineyards in coastal hills and communities

Sip your way along the Ventura County Wine Trail, where you’ll find nearly 20 wineries and tasting rooms in settings ranging from urban...

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