Homegrown Hillsborough: Artichoke
When are fresh Hillsborough County artichokes available at local groceries and farm stands?
Florida artichokes are an experimental crop being developed at The University of Florida's Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC) in Balm. A favorable harvest season might be from January through April.
What varieties of artichokes are grown commercially here?
GCREC is working with Imperial Star, Green Globe Imperial, Green Queen, and Opal Artichokes. Imperial Star is performing the best.
Where are artichokes most commonly grown in Hillsborough County?
At UF's research and education center in Balm.
How many acres are planted with artichokes?
Though research is underway on a plot at GCREC, no artichokes are grown for commercial purposes in Hillsborough County. They are grown and sold in Brooksville and Ocala.
How many pounds of artichokes are harvested?
Potentially, about 6,000 pounds per acre.
The artichokes commonly shipped to local produce stands and grocery stores are buds of a flower. To eat an artichoke, you must pick the bud before it blooms.
Though most artichokes are grown in Northern California, researchers at the GCREC in Balm are treating the buds with a natural supplement that has an effect similar to cooler weather, which the vegetables need to thrive.