There may not be a vegetable more intimidating than the artichoke. Sure, when their tender hearts are marinating in jars they seem harmless, but it’s easy to become a little fearful in a field of spiky, chest-high plants threatening to club you with their ripe artichoke fists. John and Donna Plough have risen to that challenge, however, bringing this Mediterranean staple and pride of California to the Canadian West Coast.
Fifteen years ago, the Ploughs set aside some space on their 20-acre farm in the northwest corner of Abbotsford to experiment with 50 artichoke plants. In their second season, they ambitiously quadrupled the crop size, but sadly, without much result. “I think we only got three artichokes that year,” Donna recalls. “We had a terrible learning curve.” But they persisted, and Glen Valley Artichoke Farms has flourished since.