Artichokes are top of the June crops

The artichoke plant is a perennial and as a commercial crop is left in the field for three years

With the artichoke season now upon us, The Connexion meets a flag-waver for the Breton delicacy with a fine reputation

Artichokes are at their best in May and June. In France they are regarded as a delicacy and are very popular, unlike in the UK where they are seldom eaten and very few are grown commercially.

France is the third biggest producer in Europe behind Italy in first place and Spain second.

There are 900 producers in Brittany and many are in Finistère just south of Roscoff around Saint-Pol-de-Léon, where there is a favourable micro-climate: “We have a mild climate with very few frosts, which suits artichokes which were originally a Mediterranean crop,” says Jean-François Jézéquel, spokesman for the Confrérie de l’Artichaut de Bretagne.

“This area is particularly good for vegetables. We grow mostly cauliflowers, but artichokes are the second crop. The soil is rich in humus and minerals as it was once under the sea and it is very deep, which suits the artichokes’ long roots. Another positive aspect is the warm sea breeze which literally blows away any aphids and there is hardly any need for ...

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