Artichokes are one of our favorite vegetables at Putney Farm. Usually we eat large artichokes and artichoke hearts, but we recently discovered a special treat, young or “baby” artichokes. These are the first artichokes of the year and are still very small, about 2 inches long or less, and quite tender. So small and tender that you an eat most of the outer leaves, and you do not need to remove the inner “choke”. After some trimming, you can eat these artichokes whole.
When and where can you get baby artichokes? Artichokes have two seasons, spring and fall, and you may be able to find these small beauties early in each season. As for where, we would suggest a farmers market, probably in California. Central California’s Monterey County (Castroville, to be exact) is the epicenter of US artichoke farming, almost all commercial artichoke farming takes place in this area. Most baby artichokes are likely to stay in this area, as farmers and locals like to keep them to themselves. However, artichokes are highly prized by chefs worldwide, so it is worth seeing if you have a small local producer at your farmers market. And if you can find them, with their tender texture and earthy flavor, baby artichokes are worth seeking out. Continue reading