Farmers’ market find: purple artichokes

May 1, 2015 | By | Comments (3)


Photograph by Margo True.

(Photograph by Margo True)


What is it?

Purple (‘opera’) artichokes from Coke Farm, at the farmers’ market in Menlo Park, CA—mixed in with a green globe-type variety.


Cool fact learned from farmer:

Large, medium, and baby artichokes all come from the same plant, and are giant flower buds. As the weather warms, they begin to open up their petals, i.e., to bloom—and when that happens, says farmer Dale Coke, the buds can get fibrous and chewy. Notice how nice and tight these little artichokes are.


Shopping tip:

Look for tightly closed artichokes. They’ll be tender and sweet.


How long can you store it?

As soon as an artichoke is picked, its quality begins to degrade. Therefore, even though you could let artichokes hang out in your fridge for a couple of weeks, try to eat them right away.


What’s the best way to store it?

Wrapped in a damp paper towel or kitchen towel, in the vegetable bin of your fridge. But not for more than a couple of weeks. Your artichokes will get black and squishy.


How do you cook it?

Coke has a nifty method that’s much faster than cooking a whole artichoke:

“I cut them in quarters and scoop out the chokes [the thistly centers]. Then I drop them in a pot of boiling salted water with some lemon squeezed in, and cook for 4 minutes. They’re good drizzled with vinaigrette and eaten warm [peel the leaves off as you normally would] or chilled.”

I gave Dale Coke's recipe a try, using a garlicky thyme vinaigrette. (Photograph by Margo True)

I gave Dale Coke’s recipe a try, using a garlicky thyme vinaigrette. (Photograph by Margo True)


Please tell us how YOU would cook a purple artichoke!


Want more artichoke recipes? Click here for everything from grilled artichokes to artichoke pasta


  1. Margo True

    Thank you, Bruce. That’s really helpful!

    May 2, 2015 at 10:39 pm
  2. Bruce N. Goren
    May 2, 2015 at 3:16 pm
  3. Bruce N. Goren

    We grow these in our San Francisco back yard. The seeds are easy to obtain, just Google Violetta Artichokes for a supplier.

    May 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm

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