CASTROVILLE, Calif. — Produce Marketing Association Foodservice conference attendees followed artichokes from harvest to plate during a tour of Ocean Mist Farms.
On the conference’s first day, about 35 participants saw fields, cooling and shipping operations, and a green globe cooking demonstration by Montrio Bistro chef Tony Baker at Castroville-based Ocean Mist.
Baker offered the group preparation tips, shortcuts and cooking ideas. During the conference in Monterey, he won a “Top Chef” networking breakfast. Baker prepared smoked artichoke-spinach and goat cheese crepes with scrambled eggs and mustard cream — an entry in the best-tasting breakfast menu item competition at the conference.
In Castroville, a fire-roasted artichoke dish was offered to the tour group.
Dale Huss, vice president of artichoke production for Ocean Mist, led the group on the field tour and laid out the history and lore of the thistled commodity.
The tour group began their morning July 29 at a Taylor Farms plant in Salinas, and finished at Steinbeck Country Produce.
During another tour July 29, PMA president Bryan Silbermann included a stop at Ocean Mist with Dawn Sweeney, president of the National Restaurant Association, and Joan McGlockton, vice president of food policy at the restaurant association.