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. Today, more than nine decades later, nearly 100 percent of America’s fresh artichoke supply is grown in California and 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.” Over the years, the festival became a primary source of funding for local non-profit groups that depend upon a successful event for their viability.

Norma Jean Mortenson, better known as Marilyn Monroe, was named California’s first honorary Artichoke Queen in 1948. The official festival started eleven years later and continues to grow, appealing to visitors from near and far. Now an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the annual Artichoke Festival continues to support the heritage of Castroville’s farming community.

Our Mission

The Artichoke Festival is a 501(3) non-profit organization whose mission is 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 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
  • Food Insecurity in our Local Community
  • Health and Nutrition Programs
  • Local School Sports and Education Programs
  • Local Parks and Recreational Programs
  • Local School Sports & Education Programs

2019 Artichoke Festival Donation Recipient Organizations

  • Hope, Horses & Kids
  • North County Middle School Library
  • Marina Lions Club
  • Ashleigh Nicole Swain Memorial Scholarship
  • Golden Sate Elite Gymnastics
  • Cursillo in Christianity
  • Sun Street Center
  • North Salinas Athletic Booster Club (Baseball Team)
  • Manzanita Park Playground
  • North County Wrestling Team
  • Ord Terrace Elementary School
  • Monterey High Girls Basketball Team
  • North County Bulldogs Cheer
  • North County Recreation and Park District (Party on the Plaza)
  • Ariel Theatrical Inc.