- Artichoke Club
CASTROVILLE, Calif. – The Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival returns to the Monterey County Fairgrounds June 4-5 to celebrate California’s iconic state vegetable. Now in its 57th year, the festival is anticipated to attract more than 30,000 visitors and will feature food and wine demonstrations as well as entertainment.
“We are excited that the festival continues to expand and is one of the region’s most anticipated events,” said Ron Stefani, president of the Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival. “This event is a unique opportunity to highlight the impact artichokes have in Castroville and Monterey, and our goal is to share the good fun, delicious flavors and long-standing festival traditions with the local community and visitors from around the world.”
Festival attendees can enjoy favorites such as a farmer’s market, the Ocean Mist Farms Agro Art competition, arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, including an opportunity to meet beloved festival ambassador “Arti the Artichoke,” artichoke field tours and a competitive artichoke eating contest.
Festivalgoers can also expect delicious artichoke delicacies, prepared using freshly harvested artichokes. Options include artichokes creamed, steamed, pickled, deep-fried and grilled artichokes, and in burritos, soup, cupcakes and much more. Guests over 21 can enjoy wine tasting, micro brews and artichoke pairings.
The area’s finest chefs, including Tony Baker of Montrio Bistro and Baker’s Bacon; Todd Fisher of Tarpy’s; and Rene Herrera of Alfonso’s; will showcase the versatility of the artichoke and share unique preparation techniques.
The annual Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival started in 1959 in Castroville, where California’s first artichoke shoots were planted in 1922. Today, nearly all of America’s artichoke supply comes from California and nearly two-thirds are still grown in Castroville.
Over the years, the festival has become the primary source of funding for local nonprofit groups that thrive with the success of the festival. The festival continues to grow, and in 2014 moved to the Monterey County Fairgrounds to host more attendees and attractions. The festival still honors its artichoke legacy by name and through many of the Castroville events leading up to the two-day event, including a historic kick-off parade, car show and community dinner.
Castroville-based Ocean Mist Farms is the largest artichoke grower in the United States and a long-time supporter of the festival. Ocean Mist Farms has grown artichokes for more than 90 years and donated all artichokes being used at the event.
Joe Pezzini, chief executive officer of Ocean Mist, said “We’re proud to support the Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival and to celebrate Castroville’s long and storied artichoke history.”
This year for the first time, five, $1,000 Ocean Mist Farms Academic Scholarships will be awardedat the festival as part of Ocean Mist Farms’ community education initiative; the presentation will be on Saturday, June 4, at 12:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.
Also for the first time this year, Ocean Mist Farms gave a trip for two to attend the festival to the winner of its nationwide sweepstakes, Be an Artichoke Adventurer.
Earlier this spring, home cooks were invited to upload a picture or video of themselves preparing or eating a fresh artichoke for a chance to win a trip for two to Monterey, Calif., including tickets to the Annual Castroville Food & Wine Artichoke Festival. Entries were judged on creativity of the photo or video, and how well it showcased the cook’s adventurous spirit. The winning video was submitted by Trissina Kear from Valley Village, Calif.
For everyone else, tickets for the 2016 Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival are available for purchase at www.artichokefestival.org and may be purchased at the door. General admission for adults is $12; active military, seniors and children (4-12) $7; children 3 and under are FREE.
For more information about all of the exciting events in store for the 2016 Castroville Artichoke Food and Wine Festival, visit the festival website page and follow festival happenings on Facebook and Twitter @ArtiFest.