Here’s an easy answer. Crown a newly minted Marilyn Monroe as Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen in February 1948. Chances are—you’d gnaw on anything she promotes with her magnetic smile.
Californians certainly followed Norma Jeane’s lead. In 2013, California proclaimed the artichoke as its state vegetable. In fact, 99% of the nation’s crop is grown on this strip of land angled against the Pacific.
Transforming a somewhat user-unfriendly vegetable into a staple of the American diet is a more confounding matter. This article examines innovative patenting, branding and merchandising efforts associated with this superfood thistle.