Farmers' Kitchen—Baby Tastes
Deep Meadow Farm—Jon Cohen
Written onJune 01 , 2008
Artichokes were cultivated in the Mediterranean climate, so growing them in Vermont can be challenging, and not many people are doing it. At Deep Meadow Farm, we start our seedlings in early March, and with a little luck we later have several 50-degree days to set the plants outside. This tricks the plants, which are on a biennial cycle, into believing it’s winter. After a few days, we return them to the greenhouse, where they start to flower in their “second year.” In warmer climates, the peak season for harvesting artichokes is spring. For Northerners, this plant from the thistle family sends up its glorious spike sometime in August.
In the center of an artichoke plant is one large bud, the kind we are familiar with from the grocery store. However, the “baby” artichokes that grow around this main artichoke are more numerous, and I think, more tender. These smaller artichokes can be practically used whole, as they have almost none of the fuzzy purple/white choke in the center that many people scoop out of larger artichokes.
When using baby artichokes for cooking, simply peel away some of the tougher outer leaves, cut the tip of the artichoke off, and cut it into quarters. The following recipe is a simple meal to enjoy the flavor of the baby artichoke in the style of a Mediterranean dish.