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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Ian Goldsmith, Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan

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Ocean Mist Farms Marks Beginning of Heirloom Artichoke Season

Chef Curtis Stone Visit, Display Contests, Artichoke Club Giveaways and Annual Festival Planned

CASTROVILLE, CA--(Marketwired - February 25, 2014) - March is the beginning of peak artichoke season and Ocean Mist Farms, the largest grower of Heirloom artichokes in the country, is celebrating the company's 90th anniversary with multiple activities designed to generate awareness for fresh artichokes.

The HH Heirloom artichoke variety is a perennial plant that grows from original root stock that dates back to the start of Ocean Mist Farms in 1924. The formal classification of an Heirloom fresh fruit or vegetable is any distinct variety that grows and has been sold for more than 50 years using the same lineage. 

Like a family recipe, this unique variety of artichoke grows only from the same root stock that has been passed down to each generation of Ocean Mist family farmers for more than 90 years -- never from seed. Artichokes are such a strong part of California history that last year they were named the Official State Vegetable of California.

"Ocean Mist Farms' Heirloom variety has also been the variety chefs preferred for years," said Kori Tuggle, director of marketing and business development. "Most chefs refer to this variety as the 'red label' referring to the red font color of our packages for the last several decades."

Yesterday, for example, Chef Curtis Stone of Bravo TV's Top Chef Masters visited Castroville for a field tour of the new Heirloom artichoke crop. Chef Stone brought a team from his new restaurant Maude to help prepare for the restaurant's March menu that will feature artichokes in nine courses of a fixed menu; Stone will also feature the visit on his popular blog.

Peak season of the Castroville Heirloom crop is March through May, Tuggle said, and all the Heirloom artichokes harvested in Castroville will have a red sticker to help shoppers find the Ocean Mist Farms' Heirloom variety in their local grocery stores.

Ocean Mist Farms is sending weekly "Arti Alert" emails to the 40,000 members of its Artichoke Club to help them find where they can buy Ocean Mist Heirloom Artichokes on sale specific to the region where they live. The same message will also be shared via Ocean Mist Farms' 11,600 Facebook fans and other social media channels such Twitter using the hash tag #heirloomartichoke.

The highlight of Heirloom artichoke season will be the Annual Castroville Artichoke Festival held at the Monterey County Fairgrounds on May 31 and June 1, in Monterey, Calif., where Ocean Mist Farms will be honored for its service and support of the Castroville community since 1924. The festival features Arti the Artichoke, Agro Art, chef demos, artichoke field tours, wine tasting and assorted activities for artichoke lovers of all ages.

For more information about the company and its products, visit www.oceanmist.com.

About Ocean Mist Farms
Ocean Mist Farm's growers are focused on meeting the needs of their customers and consumers. That means they are committed to the highest standards in the industry for quality, service, innovation, social responsibility and delivering year-round premium fresh vegetables. Ocean Mist Farms is four generations of family farmers who lead the artichoke category and grow a full line of fresh vegetables.

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