June 11, 2008

My favorite snack...

Artichoke History
It appears that the artichoke was first developed in Sicily, Italy. There is mention of the plant in Greek and Roman literature as far back as 77AD. Artichokes were cultivated by the North African Moors near Granada Spain about 800AD. The choke made to England in about 1548 but was not well received. The Spanish settlers brought artichokes to California in the 1600's. They did not become widely grown or used in California until the 1920's. "In 1922 Andrew Molera, a landowner in the Salinas Valley of Monterey County, California, just south of San Francisco, decided to lease land previously dedicated to the growing of sugar beets to farmers willing to try the “new” vegetable. His reasons were economic—already artichokes were fetching high prices and farmers could pay Molera triple what the sugar company did for the same land. By 1929 artichokes were the third largest cash crop in the Valley" (Food Museum).

Castroville California and the artichoke really made it on the map when Marilyn Monroe was crowned "Artichoke Queen" in 1948. Eighty percent of all artichokes grown commercially are from Castroville. Castroville is located approximately 98 miles (156km) south of San Francisco, and 16 miles north (25 km) of Monterey.
(from "Gourmet Sleuth")

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