(Jan. 16) Ocean Mist Farms, Castroville, Calif., is promoting artichokes that have been damaged by below-freezing temperatures throughout the state’s prime growing regions as “frost-kissed,” to retailers and consumers.

Because of the unsightly brown appearance of the artichokes, Ocean Mist has reached out to consumers with a culinary educational program to tell them that beauty is only skin deep and what lies below the formerly green surface is still tasty.

“We’ve done this every year we get frost,” said Kori Tuggle, marketing manager. “The only thing that changes is how early we get frost; sometimes it’s in November or sometimes it’s not until the end of December.”

She said point-of-sales materials have been sent to retailers to inform consumers about the underlying attributes of the frost-kissed artichokes.

“The true artichoke connoisseur is aware that this is normal and actually looks forward to them,” Tuggle said. “They also know that the frost gives it a nuttier flavor than the non-frosted artichoke. It actually enhances the flavor and it’s only during a couple of months of the year that you get that effect.”

She said many consumers, however, do not realize that when the frost-kissed artichokes are cooked the cosmetic appearance disappears.

The company also posted information and recipes on its Web site and sent information to members of “Artichoke Aficionados,” an interactive club to which the company offers recipe updates, giveaways and contests.

Tuggle said Jan. 15 that until warmer weather returns to the area the frost-kissed artichokes will continue to be offered. Following a freeze, it normally takes artichoke plants two to three weeks to begin producing frost-free artichokes again.