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.

Artichoke festival artichokes history
Artichoke festival artichoke fields history

Our Mission

To raise money to give back to the surrounding communities of Castroville, CA, in a wonderful celebration of the artichoke.

Our Purpose

To engage, inform and excite festival attendees about the unique qualities of artichokes including farming, harvest, preparation, and eating and to demonstrate how the artichoke industry has influenced the history of Monterey County.

Our Community

Proceeds from The Artichoke Festival will be used to support the following types of community organizations and activities. All donation recipients must be a 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations.

  • Animal Assisted Development & Education Programs
  • Community Programs that serve Seniors
  • Community Enrichment Programs
  • Animal Rehabilitation and Community Education Programs
  • Cancer Support Services
  • Community Programs that serve Seniors and At-Risk Youth
  • Local School Sports and Education Programs
  • Food Insecurity in our Local Community
  • Health and Nutrition Programs
  • Local Parks and Recreational Programs
  • Local School Sports & Education Programs
  • Adult Education Programs

2022 Artichoke Festival Donation Recipient Organizations

As the Artichoke Festival has grown in scope and footprint, so has it’s annual giving. The Festival Committee is proud to announce that in the past decade an accumulated total of more than $270,000 in cash and in-kind donations have been given in support of the following non-profits and service groups:

  • Arts Council for Monterey County
  • Compass Church Youth Ministry
  • Cursillo in Christianity
  • Federacion San Pablo de Colores
  • Golden State Elite Cheer and Dance
  • Hope, Horses and Kids
  • Marina Lions Club
  • Monterey County Free Libraries
  • Monterey High School AMP Academy
  • North Monterey County High School Cheer
  • North Monterey County High School Student Government
  • North Monterey County High School Wrestling Team
  • North Monterey County Middle School Library
  • Partnership for Children
  • Rotary Club of North Monterey County
  • Salinas Valley Food and Wine
  • Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare Service League
  • Santa Lucia Rotary Salinas
  • Valley Heritage Quilt Guild