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High antioxidant content makes artichokes a nutrient powerhouse

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (November 16, 2007) – Artichoke lovers have reason to celebrate this spring as research shows that these beautiful, flower-like vegetables are nutrition all stars.

Low in calories and fat-free, artichokes are an excellent source of fiber (more than 10 grams per artichoke) and vitamin C, and a good source of folate, magnesium, and potassium. In addition, a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found artichokes have more antioxidants than all other vegetables.*

“Artichokes provide many health and nutrition benefits, and they are highly versatile offering home cooks a variety of serving options for spring and beyond,” said Kori Tuggle, marketing manager at Ocean Mist Farms, the largest producer of artichokes in the country. Many home cooks may be surprised to learn that artichokes are easy to prepare. After trimming the tops and tips of leaves, artichokes can be grilled, roasted or quickly cooked using a microwave.

Artichokes can be added to salads to enhance their texture or included in a favorite pasta recipe, but many artichoke lovers prefer to eat them the tried-and-true method steamed and dipped in a favorite dressing.

“People love artichokes for their great taste but also for the eating experience,” said Tuggle. It’s a great dish for families or friends to share.

Spring marks the beginning of peak artichoke season with more than 90 percent of the countries artichokes grown in Northern California from April through November.

For more information about artichokes as well as recipes, cooking
videos and tips for preparation, please visit www.oceanmist.com.

*American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2006

New products to debut at the Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Convention

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (September 27 2007) – Ocean Mist Farms, the largest grower of artichokes in the United States, will launch two products – baby artichokes in clamshells and “hang tags” for its organic globe artichokes – at the Fresh Summit Convention in Houston.

“Ocean Mist Farms developed the new products to extend the size and enhance the offerings of the traditional artichoke display,” said Kori Tuggle, marketing manager.

The clamshell packages make it easier for both store personnel and shoppers to handle artichokes. The new, square-shape clamshell, for example, makes the new packages easier to stack and store.

The clamshell also eliminates any tears caused by thorns getting caught in over-wrap film. In addition, the artichokes are protected and less likely to bruise due to less handling and more rigid packaging.

The “hang tags” are designed to help shoppers distinguish organic artichokes from conventional. The tag includes a UPC code for easy scanning at point of sale. The back of the tag provides cooking and eating instructions.

The new products will be available at the Produce Marketing Association’s Fresh Summit Convention (Oct. 12 – 15) at the Ocean Mist Farms boothdd #3533.

Castroville, CA

CASTROVILLE, CA – (September 11, 2007) Joe Pezzini, vice president of operations for Ocean Mist Farms, will be presented the 2007 Agriculture Leadership Award for his outstanding work in the fresh produce industry by the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce.

The award recognizes the individual, company, association or agency that has made the most significant contribution to the agricultural community of the Salinas area in the past year.

Pezzini is receiving the award in recognition of his role as the produce industry spokesperson during the food borne illness outbreak in September 2006.

As chairman of the Grower Shipper Association of Central California board of directors, Pezzini helped unite the industry under the California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement, which established a program verifying food safety practices for the leafy green industry.

“I am proud of the progress our industry has made in the last year after undergoing some major challenges,” Pezzini said.” It is an honor to be this years recipient of the Agriculture Leadership Award.”

Pezzini will be presented the 2007 Agriculture Leadership Award at the Salute to AgricultureSM 2007 event in Salinas, Calif., on September 13.

Pezzini has been with Ocean Mist since 1983. He lives in Salinas with his wife Mary and has two children.

Castroville- CA

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (September 5, 2007) – Ocean Mist Farms the leading grower of artichokes and other fresh vegetables, in its ongoing commitment to sustainable agriculture is creating a new position dedicated to environmental stewardship.

Afreen Malik, currently the manager of food safety, will take on the added responsibility of managing the company’s environmental activities said Joe Pezzini, vice-president of operations.

“Afreen understands the importance of these two functions and is in a unique position to direct our environmental initiatives across the company,” Pezzini said. “As farmers, we understand the importance of caring for the land and the footprint we leave behind.”

Ocean Mist is a leader when it comes to green initiatives.

For example, 90 percent (moving toward 100 percent) of the company’s farmed acreage utilizes drip irrigation to reduce water consumption and fertilizer usage.

The company uses energy efficient lighting in its offices and implements conservation measures in its cooling facilities through lighting, variable speed evaporator fans, electronic forklifts and a cardboard recycling program.

The company has long been a proponent of integrated pest management practices to reduce pesticide use and farms artichokes organically.

“We see a need for this new position because it is important to us and to our customers.” Pezzini said. “We fully realize this will only grow in importance with time.”

Malik has been with Ocean Mist Farms since 2004. As manager of food safety, she has been integrally involved in directing the company’s food safety program from “Farm to Fork” as well as enhancing product traceability and recall protocols.

Prior to joining Ocean Mist Farms, who worked with Frozsun Foods/Sunrise Growers. Malik is a graduate of the Univeristy of California, Santa Barbara.

Website features All About Artichokes

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (August 3 2007) Ocean Mist Farms launched a re-designed Web site that offers interactive features, easy navigation tools and user-friendly information.

The newly designed home page features streaming video and an Artichoke Aficionados club, one of the site’s most interactive features. The club offers artichoke lovers monthly alerts with new recipes and nutrition information as well as opportunities to win free gifts.

The new site also features an “Ask the R.D.” section where visitors can submit nutrition questions and receive a personalized e-mail response from an Ocean Mist Farms dietician. In addition, the health and nutrition web page offers a wealth of information on artichoke nutrition and highlights artichokes as an “Antioxidant Powerhouse!”.

The sites other features include a recipe database, cooking and instructional videos and an artichoke store locator function.

The new Ocean Mist Farms Web site was designed with the home cook in mind,” said Kori Tuggle, marketing manager at Ocean Mist Farms. “When visitors enter the site, they will be able to find all the information they need from recipes to cooking tips and nutrition”.

Ocean Mist Farms conducted a survey in 2006 that showed 70 percent of the people surveyed said they are most likely to look for recipes when they search the Web for the word “artichokes”. A high percentage of survey respondents also said they went online to find preparation or cooking information as well as health and nutrition information.

To spread the word about the new site, Ocean Mist Farms is including the URL, www.oceanmist.com on all of its products. The site is also search engine optimized (SEO).

The new Web site also features a comprehensive section for the trade that includes information about Ocean Mist Farms full line of products, growing regions, food safety program, as well as merchandising and instructions for downloading marketing materials.

"Artichoke 101"

CASTROVILLE, CA – (May 8 2007) – Ocean Mist Farms was honored to host the Editor of Country Woman & Taste of Home Magazine for a full day of “Artichoke 101″. Ann’s day started outside in an Ocean Mist Farms Artichoke field to get a full understanding of how Green Globe Artichokes grow and are
harvested from Dale Huss, VP Artichoke Production-OMF. Ann was given the traditional red “canasta” to get a feel for harvesting fresh artichokes on her own. Following her harvesting, she joined the packing crew on the field harvest machine where she packed artichokes by all sizes.

Later in the day, Ann joined part of the Ocean Mist Family in the kitchen at OMF headquarters in Castroville. Dolores Tottino and Michele Pecci (2 generations of the Tottinio family) discussed family traditions, how to cook artichokes and family secrets on prepping a fresh artichoke.

The Artichoke Chile Con Queso recipe below will be featured in the June/July issue of Taste of Home. And the full story of Ann’s “Artichoke Adventure” will be in the next issue of Country Woman.

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CHILI CON QUESO ARTICHOKES (Makes 8 Appetizer Servings)
2 medium or large Ocean Mist artichokes, cooked
1 8-ounce bag Mexican Four Cheeses
1 6-ounce can evaporated milk
1 4-ounce can diced green chiles, drained
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

To cook artichokes: Rinse and cut off and discard stem and top third of petals. With scissors, cut off tips of remaining petals. Stand artichokes in a large pot. Add 3 inches of water and heat to boiling. Reduce to simmer, cover and cook until petal pulls out easily, 30-40 minutes. Drain and let cool. Gently press center petals back. With a teaspoon, grapefruit spoon or melon baller, scrape out and discard fuzzy choke in center.

To prepare Chili Con Queso: In medium microwaveable bowl, stir together the cheeses, milk and chiles. Microwave on High until melted, stirring once, about 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Arrange artichokes on serving plates. Spoon hot cheese mixture into the center of each artichoke. Garnish with additional cilantro if you wish. Pull of petals, one at a time, to dip in melted cheese. When you get to the heart, cut it into bite-sized pieces to dip into cheese.

New study determines antioxidant concentration for commonly eaten foods

CASTROVILLE, Calif. – (February 16 2007) – A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found artichokes have more antioxidants than all other vegetables and were ranked fourth in antioxidant content out of all food and beverages tested.

Researchers from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, the University of Minnesota and the University of Oslo, Norway, used the FRAP (ferric reducing ability of plasma) assay method to measure the antioxidant levels of more than 1,000 food and beverages commonly consumed in the United States.

Antioxidants are bioactive compounds in foods that work in our body to help stop the action of free radicals, protect healthy cells, and contribute to good health, said Dr. Katherine Phillips, research scientist at Virginia Tech and one of the study’s authors. “We were surprised to find that cooked fresh artichokes were very high in antioxidants, but also to learn that they were the very highest in antioxidants out of all vegetables we measured”.

The study was conducted independently of any food industry sponsors; the food samples were obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Food and Nutrient Analysis Program.

The study confirmed that fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants can be identified by their rich coloring, such as deep reds and blues and dark greens.