Several nights of frost didn’t severally damage artichokes shipping from California.
Cold and frosty early morning weather in mid-December caused some cosmetic damage, growers said, but nothing that would impair the eating quality of artichokes leaving the Salinas and Castroville areas.
Joe Pezzini, chief operating officer for Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, Calif., the nation’s largest grower-shipper of artichokes, said Castroville production levels are already low for artichokes in December because the bulk of the company’s winter crop ships from Coachella.
“It doesn’t hurt the edibility of the artichokes — they are still quite tasty,” Pezzini said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on Dec. 15 that artichokes shipping from central and Southern California fetched between $35 and $36.97 for 18s, and between $25 and $30.97 for 24s in moderate trading volumes.
Michael Boggiatto, president of Boggiatto Produce Inc., an artichoke grower-shipper based in Salinas, Calif., said though artichoke production levels for the company are low, what was in the ground got hit with frost, though with no major quality effects.
“The appearance does make them harder to market,” Boggiatto said.
Boggiatto said his company has notified its customers about the cosmetic damage the frost caused, including peeling and blistering.