Artichokes: A Peninsula Legacy
Since 1959, the Monterey Peninsula has come together to celebrate California’s official state vegetable. California’s artichoke history begins in 1922 when the first artichoke shoots were planted in Castroville. Nearly 100 percent of America’s fresh artichoke supply is grown in California. In addition, nearly two-thirds is grown in the small town of Castroville.
The annual Artichoke Festival began in 1959 as a harvest festival to celebrate the iconic artichoke and the region known as the “Artichoke Center of the World.” As a result, the festival became a primary source of funding for local non-profit groups that depend upon a successful event for their viability throughout the years.
Norma Jean Mortenson, better known as Marilyn Monroe, was named California’s first honorary Artichoke Queen in 1948. Eleven years later, the official festival started and continues to grow, appealing to visitors from near and far. Moreover, the Artichoke festival is an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In conclusion, the annual Artichoke Festival continues to support the heritage of Castroville’s farming community.