The artichoke, a plant known since ancient times, is very widespread in Italy, especially in the regions of Apulia, Sicily and Sardinia. Most of our production is for consumption as food, especially fresh or preserved artichokes, but we must not forget the importance of this plant in the medicinal field.
The artichoke season
The artichoke is a perennial herb, whose buds develop shoots called "carducci". The artichoke has a stem that varies in height from 50 to 150 cm. It is straight and strong with large leaves that are deep green and rather prickly. It has blue flowers, whereas the fruit is a green-grey elongated oval shape. Its natural cycle develops in the period from autumn to spring: as it is a perennial plant, it enters a dormant phase during the summer and wakes up in the autumn. Nevertheless, today growing techniques stimulate the re-awakening of the plants during the summer so that its flowering buds are available until October and November.
A skilful growing technique
Artichoke growing requires a very carefully prepared soil down to a good depth. It needs to be damp but without stagnant water in order to prevent the plant from being affected by fungal diseases. The experience of farmers is of fundamental importance not only during the growing phase but also when harvesting: in fact, the flowering bud must be picked at the exact time of ripening, when the head has reached the right size and the tips are still well closed. Harvesting is done by hand, in a graduated way by selecting the ready flowering buds and leaving the unripe ones on the plant, as they can be picked at a later time.
Our range of artichokes
In Italy, we have several varieties of artichoke, the most well-known and appreciated are certainly the Roman artichoke (late spring variety), the Apulian violet artichoke (a variety with a tapered shape, excellent for eating raw) and the Sardinian prickly artichoke (with its typical pointed shape and many prickly leaves).
At Valbona, we particularly love this vegetable and process many varieties, from the Apulian violet artichoke to the Sardinian prickly artichoke PDO.
We rely on expert farmers who carefully and attentively grow it and prepare it for us, picking it in the fields and removing the stem and the toughest leaves.
Then, the artichoke heart is put into a light brine in drums and sent to our production unit, where, within a few hours, it is processed according to a recipe and put into jars.