This week, I could not resist buying a bunch of small artichokes from Stillman's Farm at the Copley Farmers' Market.
The first time I heard about the possibility of growing artichokes on local farms was in 2009 when I interviewed John Lee from Allandale Farm for a piece I was preparing for Serious Eats. He was studying and experimenting with an artichoke crop back then.
This season, Stillman's has had beautiful, little artichokes like these on their stand.
In his book, 50 Foods: The Essentials of Good Taste, Edward Behr (publisher of the most wonderful Art of Eating Newsletter) writes of artichokes, "They lose quality from the moment they're cut from the plant." He goes on to describe what to look for when you purchase this vegetable, "Artichokes should be heavy for their size and the leaves tightly closed (not about to open into a flower) ..."
These will be supper, as soon as I rummage through the books behind them to decide what prepartion will best highlight the freshness and seasonality of these beauties.
Remember, when you serve artichokes, they contain a chemical that makes wines taste sweeter, so choose a very dry wine to go with them. I'm going to follow one of Behr's recommendations and serve an unoaked Chardonnay.
Many of our Farmers Markets are open until Thanksgiving so you have a few opportunities to try local artichokes. Here's a link to the details on which markets are open.
Update 11/05/14: We did a follow up post on these artichokes showing the beautiful interiors during preparation and the folks from Stillman's answered the Michelle's question in the comments below in that post.
Here are more of our Local Food/Farmers' Markets posts.
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Words: Penny Cherubino
Photos: ©2014 Penny Cherubino