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Have fun and be healthy on this day that celebrates this delicious vegetable that is chock full of nutrients and health benefits. It’s time for National Artichoke Day!

Classified as a vegetable, an artichoke is actually the flower bud of a thistle that has yet to grow to maturity. Grown in warm climates, in places such as California, France, and Spain, artichokes are popular in European dishes, as well as in the United States. And for those who have experienced them when prepared well, artichokes can bring a great deal of joy and flavor to a variety of dishes. Plus, they’re good for you too!

History of National Artichoke Day

It is believed that artichokes were first harvested by those living in the Middle East, the plant is likely native to the Mediterranean. In fact, some experts surmise that artichokes are one of the world’s oldest foods!

In the 1400s, artichokes became popular in Tuscany, specifically in Florence, Italy. From there, their popularity spread throughout Europe and eventually to the US, in the 1800s. They finally made it to California via Italian immigrants in the early 1900s and they became a huge hit. Today, California grows almost all of the artichokes produced in the United States.

How to Celebrate National Artichoke Day

Have a blast celebrating National Artichoke Day with some fun events and activities. Implement some of your own delightful ideas or try out some of these:

Eat Artichokes, Of Course

The most obvious and best way to enjoy National Artichoke Day is by cooking some up and eating them. Those who cook them all the time can have some fun getting creative with recipes for artichokes with a wide variety of opportunities for preparing them: baked, grilled, steamed, boiled, roasted, or even sauteed. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, butter and so many other options!

Fun Facts About Artichokes

Learn some delightful fun facts and bits of trivia about artichokes in honor of National Artichoke Day. Then share them with friends, family, coworkers and more! Get started with some of these:

  • Artichokes are technically a member of the sunflower family.

  • Artichoke plants don’t last long. Each plant only produces artichokes for 5-10 years.

  • Artichoke plants are fairly large in size. They grow to be around 6 feet wide and approximately 3-4 feet tall.

  • Marilyn Monroe, iconic American Actress, held the title of the inaugural “Artichoke Queen” in Castroville, California in 1948, when she was 22 years old.

Plan to Attend the Artichoke Festival

Though the festival takes place later in the year, National Artichoke Day would be a great time to make plans to attend. Taking place each year in Castroville, California, the Artichoke Festival usually falls on the first or second weekend in June. Attendees can enjoy festivities such as a charity golf tournament, children’s games and activities, live music performances, three-dimensional AgroArt competitions, dancing performances and so much more to enjoy. And everything is creatively based on the all-important theme of artichokes!

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