(April 17, 4:22 p.m.) Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, Calif., is kicking off the peak artichoke season with a number of marketing programs to encourage sales.

“The artichoke peak season for Castroville officially started April 1, and runs through the end of May, so this gives us a good opportunity to market them,” said Kori Tuggle, director of marketing.

Tuggle said the company is supporting sales with in-store demos, display contests, consumer outreach programs that focus on education and even a grower appearance.

“We’ll be sending Mike Scattini, one of our growers, this weekend to Safeway in Soquel (Calif.) to answer questions and we usually do a demo too,” she said April 16. “That was actually at the request of the retailer. We haven’t had that request before, so it’s nice to get a grower out there.”

She said the marketing effort would reinforce the health benefits of artichokes.

“That’s our primary goal,” she said. “And this is a great opportunity to show shoppers how easy it is to serve up fresh artichokes.”

She said Ocean Mist would also insert four new seasonal recipe cards in artichoke packages. The first will be its “chili and chokes” recipe, using steamed artichoke leaves in place of chips to dip in chili.

“It’s just an approach to show people how to cook and eat an artichoke in an easy way,” she said. “We’re putting them in our clamshells and cello bags. We also demoed it and we received very positive responses from all ages.”

Tuggle said the company has been distributing the recipe cards in Midwest and West Coast retail stores. She said Ocean Mist plans to roll out a new two-count clamshell at the United Fresh show in Las Vegas, May 4-7.

Ocean Mist begins multi-faceted marketing effort
A worker harvests artichokes for Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, California. With the area's artichoke deal picking up steam, Ocean Mist is launching a health benefits-focused marketing effort that includes in-store demos, recipe cards, display contests and more.