Central coast

The Artichoke Fest Will Party Heart-y in Late Spring 2022

That delicious thistle, the one with the tender heart, is at the center of this annual Central Coast celebration.


What to Know

  • June 11 and 12, 2022
  • Monterey County Fair & Event Center
  • Food booths, live entertainment, eating contests, cooking demos

THE HEARTFUL START OF FEBRUARY? It means that there will be a plethora of hearts, so many hearts, oodles of hearts in pretty much any direction you turn, thanks to the proximity of Valentine's Day. There will be heart-shaped candies, pizzas that rock a distinctly heart-like shape, and heart-themed gifts, from stuffed animals to greeting cards, taking up an entire aisle, or two, of your local grocery store. But there is one heart-y California icon that is on plenty of minds as the second month begins, for the Artichoke Festival, a dippable Central Coast delight, is only a few months away. And the weekend-long culinary celebration shall return, in all of its leafy and lovely glory, on...

JUNE 11 AND 12, 2022: Ardent artichoke aficionados know that while the tasty thistle is synonymous with Castroville, the delicious to-do unfurls at the Monterey County Fair & Event Center (which is just a short toodle from the Artichoke Capital of the World, when you think about it). Cooking demonstrations are a major component, which is a fabulous thing, especially if you're the sort of person who only ever drops the globular goodie in a pot of boiling water, without considering the possibilities that grilling or steaming might hold. Places to buy artichokes to devour right there, on the spot, are plentiful, which means you'll be able to sup upon fried baby artichokes, a delicacy that is famously well-loved in the chokie community.

OTHER WEEKEND HAPPENINGS... are as plentiful as artichoke-complementing condiments, including a 5K run and a wine tasting. And stocking up on items that tell the world, or at least anyone you encounter, that the artichoke is your ultimate appetizer? The green scene is mondo, with hats, tees, and other wearables/keepables for sale. It's all happening on the penultimate weekend of spring, a season that feels like it should almost have the artichoke as its heart-yummy, ultra-leafy symbol. After all, if you leave a globe artichoke to grow, and grow, and grow, it should eventually produce a large and dramatic blossom, making it a true star of springtime.

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