Artichoke Appreciation at Baroda Farms

artichokes at Barado Farms

April is artichoke season and there is something magical about seeing purple artichokes standing at attention, ready for harvest. You don’t have to be a farmer to appreciate the bountiful crop before you, or an artist to appreciate the sheer beauty.

A couple of food bloggers and I had the privilege to visit Steve Jordan, president and owner of Baroda Farms in Lompoc, CA recently, a perennial artichoke grower and developer 29 different varieties. Special thanks to Frieda’s Produce, the distributor of these spectacular artichokes, for a unique private tour.

artichokes at Barado Farms

Our gracious host led us through the fields, telling us the rich history of his farm, and his constant quest for the best artichoke flavor.

Steve-Baroda-Farms

Mr. Jordan cut open a freshly picked Sangria Artichoke for us to taste. Gorgeously reddish outside, it is even more beautiful inside.

artichokes at Barado Farms

None of us had eaten an artichoke raw before, so we curiously bit into the end of a leaf. It was crunchy and slightly nutty.

We followed Mr. Jordan like he was the pied piper… wide-eyed and amazed at the beauty of every artichoke.

artichokes at Barado Farms

We took endless pictures.

artichokes at Barado Farms

artichoke-Baroda_Farms-1

Baroda Farms has a laboratory for artichoke research and plant tissue culturing. Mr. Jordan works with French and Italian breeders to develop new artichoke varieties for the U.S. market. They have five patents that were licensed from a breeder in France, one from a breeder in Italy, and three more they discovered are patent pending.

We saw so many unique varieties it was hard to keep track of each one. Mr. Jordan explains, “Since we do extensive research…  We currently produce artichokes from 7 genotypes. But literally, we number each type and it is over 500.”  Wow!

thorny-artichoke-Baroda_Farms

We were able to see the different seedlings in development.

artichokes at Barado Farms

From seedling to harvest, Baroda Farms takes special care in the handling of their artichokes.

artichokes at Barado Farms

We watched harvesters cut each artichoke by hand. They were packaged right in the field, ready for market. Baroda Farms grow and ship about 100,000 boxes of artichokes annually.

artichokes at Barado Farms

Keep your eye out in the market for Baroda Farms’ Sangria Artichokes. They are dark red with meaty leaves and a nutty flavor, and are available in So. California at Ralph’s and Gelson’s.  To watch a video on the different varieties and how to eat an artichoke CLICK HERE.

Baroda Farms - Freidas Produce

We came home from our foodie road trip with a few extra-special guests on board. I will post the grilling of this bad boy soon.

Until then, hope you enjoyed our farm trip as much as these happy food bloggers did. This panoramic photo was taken by Steve Jordan, who doesn’t get tired of snapping shots in his picturesque artichoke fields.

Baroda-Farms Lompoc ca

Here is our version of the same shot. Artichoke “selfie” by Christina of Christina’s Cucina.

selfie-at-Baroda-Farms

From left to right: Valentina of Cooking on the Weekends,  Judy of Two Broads Abroad (this great trip was her idea!), me, Christina of Christina’s Cucina and (in front), Kelly of Tasting Page.

 Quote of the Day

“Eating an artichoke is like getting to know someone really well.” – Willi Hastings

“Visiting an artichoke farm makes you want to get to know the artichoke even more.” – Cathy Arkle
…and then, she paused for thought.

About Cathy Arkle

Cathy Arkle is a food blogger, culinary explorer, graphic artist, and cooking class junkie. Her inspirations come from her travels across the globe (50 countries) in the last 20+ years partaking in various ethnic cuisines while working as a graphic artist for major networks (NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX & ESPN). She has collected a few Emmys in the field of graphic design for sports & entertainment. Cathy is also a graduate of the Pro Chef courses at The New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA

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24 Responses to Artichoke Appreciation at Baroda Farms

  1. Judy at Two Broads Abroad April 29, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    Wow did you capture the beauty and glow of an absolutely wonderful day. Now the pressure’s on for my video.

    • Cathy April 29, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

      Thanks Judy, I can’t wait to see the art you will create on video.

  2. Valentina Kenney (@cookingweekends) April 29, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

    Cathy, what a fantastic recap — You captured the essence of the farm trip perfectly. And your photos are amazingly beautiful! And I love that quote! :-)

    • Cathy April 29, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

      Thanks Valentina! It was an amazing day.

  3. Kelly @TastingPage April 29, 2014 at 3:09 pm #

    What a great recap and pics Cathy. Such a fun and educational day. I’m ready to go back!

    • Cathy April 30, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

      Thanks Kelly, I am so glad I got to spend the fun day with all of you!

  4. Laura @ Family Spice April 29, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    WOW! Every picture is a work of art, Cathy. What a lovely way to spend your day!

    • Cathy April 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm #

      Thanks Laura, it would be pretty hard not to get a gorgeous shot of these artichokes. Wish you could have been there with us.

  5. Sharon | Cheesy Pennies April 29, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    What a spectacular field trip! Great photos, great write up. I am definitely going to chase down some of those beauties next time I’m at the market. Well done!

    • Cathy April 30, 2014 at 10:18 pm #

      Thanks Sharon. I grilled my artichokes and they were the best tasting artichokes I have ever had.

  6. Lentil Breakdown April 29, 2014 at 8:58 pm #

    Looks like a great day was had by all! (Well, almost all.) Those artichokes would make an amazing floral arrangement!

    • Cathy April 30, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

      Great idea! They were exceptionally beautiful.

  7. Christina April 29, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Cathy, each of your photos is more stunning than the last! What a fantastic post, capturing the essence of the day! You are one talented lady and although those artichokes are so unbelievably photogenic, you one-upped them and really show off their beauty in these shots! Great work!

    • Cathy April 30, 2014 at 10:20 pm #

      Thanks Christina. It would be really hard to take a bad shot of something so beautiful as those artichokes.

  8. Susan Herrmann April 30, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    Cathy, These photos are gorgeous!!!! Wow! It must have been wonderful. So now, what will you do to delight us with artichokes?

    • Cathy April 30, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      Thanks Susan, I grilled them and they were the best I have ever had.

  9. Cheri Newell April 30, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

    CATH… I’m glad that I can live vicariously through you!!! My life is much more exciting! Thank you my dear friend!

    • Cathy April 30, 2014 at 10:22 pm #

      I am so glad you are enjoying the blog. You would have loved this farm.

  10. sippitysup May 3, 2014 at 4:48 pm #

    Looks like fun. Sorry I missed it. GREG

    • Cathy May 5, 2014 at 8:45 am #

      Greg, you would have really enjoyed this one. Hopefully they will do it again next year.

  11. bumbleberry breeze May 5, 2014 at 12:32 am #

    Wow-a truly gorgeous post with the loveliest images- you poured love into each one… and all your faces are radiant!

  12. Kristi @ My San Francisco Kitchen May 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Look at all of these gorgeous artichokes! How fun!!

    • Cathy June 1, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

      Kristi, it was so much fun. Artichokes are fabulous right now.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Two Broads Abroad Artichokes: Field Trip to Baroda Farms » Two Broads Abroad - May 14, 2014

    […] in Lompoc.   It was a fantastic day.  You probably even read about it on Cathy’s site She Paused for Thought or maybe you checked out Valentina’s of Cooking on the Weekend or Christina’s […]

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