Gray Gardner: When I discovered the artichoke

Story by Gray Gardener

Email Gray: ggardner@taylorvertex.com

June; Thanks for your article on Artichokes, I discovered The Artichoke  when I moved back to California in 1953, and finished High School in Woodland. My  mother discovered them and how to prepare them,

Later, in 1957 we moved back to Missouri, and artichokes were just starting to show up in the markets there.People would sneak over to my  mother and ask:  “What are those?”.

Later in 1967 when  I moved to El Granada, I was completely surprised that  I was surrounded by  artichokes, and of a size I never imagined.I soon learned different ways to prepare them,and seldom had a meal, when I was home,without them.In fact sometimes, a couple of Artichokes,and a couple of bottles of wine were my dinner (Corky’s Store was way too close).

 Later, in 1977  I lived near  Sidney, Ohio,in the  country,  and  my  lady, and I.  had a really large garden.At this time I really fell in-love with County Fairs, and in Ohio,  county had a fair.

I used to sit on the fence, and watch the  boy on the farm next door work his  border  collie each day,and later saw him win the competition at the Shelby County Fair.Somewhere along here I became obcessed with growing Artichokes in Shelby County (Probably the most  “artichoke climate and  soil” in the country), having the choke documented by the “County Agent”, and then entering it in the County  Fair, in hopes they couldn’t ID it, let alone  judge it.”

 I sent for information on growing  artichokes, designed a  “Plastic Greenhouse”, with spray to  re-create  coastside  fog & shade, and was all ready to go,when my Girlfriend ran off and joined the carnival. (There hangs another story.) and my whole life  and   project fell apart.

I still love Artichokes and miss Abalone,more than I can describe- Take care-

Gray

Excelsior Springs