This Tiny U.S. Town Is Known as the `Artichoke Capital of the World`

Written by Patrick MacFarland
Published: March 9, 2024
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The United States is a vast country that produces so many things. Some states specialize in certain products. For example, Wisconsin is famous for its cheese. Likewise, the world is also different in terms of what they produce. Belgium is known for its delicious chocolates. Mexico is known for its tacos. But there’s a little-known town that is known for its artichokes, and you’ll never guess where it’s located. Castroville is a tiny town known as the “Artichoke Capital of the World.” Let’s explore Castroville and everything about artichokes in this tiny town.

Artichoke Capital of the World

"Welcome to Castroville  - Artichoke center of the world" sign in Castroville, CA, USA

Actress Marilyn Monroe was crowned as the 1st ever Honorary Artichoke Queen in 1948.

©Irina274/iStock via Getty Images

Italian immigrants came to California in the late 1800s and when they settled in Castroville and the 1920s, they decided to plant one acre of artichokes. In 1922, it was decided that they were going to expand that one acre into 150 acres in order to plant artichokes. And in only four years, there were 12,000 acres of artichokes in California. The majority of them are located in Castroville. The ideal weather of Monterey County makes it perfect for artichoke growing, and that’s why the area can produce so many artichokes year-round. Just recently, Monterey County announced the Artichoke Trail, so people can learn about artichokes and the county’s history with the vegetable.

About Castroville

The area known as Castroville was a Mexican rancho called Rancho Bolsa Nueva y Moro Cojo. The Castro family, who were ranchers, owned the ranch. After the American government took over California after the Mexican-American War, Juan Bautista Castro, who was part of the Castro family, founded Castroville in 1863. Today, Castroville is a town located in Monterey County, in Northern California. The town has a population of 7,500 and is widely known for producing artichokes, hence the nickname the “Artichoke Center of the World.” Every summer, it holds the Castroville Artichoke Festival, which started in 1959.

Castroville’s Artichokes

There is a town in Italy called Ladispoli, which is known for its artichokes and also has been Castroville’s sister city.

©Modern Meta Photography/

All of the artichokes grown in the United States are grown only in California, which makes artichoke production a very important part of the economy of the state. About 75% of all artichokes are produced in Castroville. Furthermore, a whopping two-thirds of all of the world’s artichokes are produced in Castroville, which is one of the main reasons it’s known as the “Artichoke Capital of the World.” Artichokes are mainly harvested in the springtime with a small number harvested in the autumn.


And there you have it, Castroville is the tiny town that is known as the “Artichoke Capital of the World.” Ever since they wanted to promote tourism in Castroville in 1960, they have held the Artichoke Festival. Since then, the town has been famous for its production of artichokes and all things related to the vegetable. If you get the chance to visit Castroville, make sure you visit an artichoke farm and try their delicious artichokes. Just don’t get choked up when you do!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Valentina_G/

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About the Author

Patrick Macfarland is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering travel, geography, and history. Patrick has been writing for more than 10 years. In the past, he has been a teacher and a political candidate. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from SDSU and a Master's Degree in European Union Studies from CIFE. From San Diego, California, Patrick loves to travel and try new recipes to cook.

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