Cerda and Niscemi are the capitals of the Sicilian artichoke. The secret to the goodness of artichoke hearts processed at Il Lochetto farm most certainly lies in the quality of the basic product, but also in the extremely short period of time from when the artichokes are picked to the moment the jar is closed, which is never more than 24-36 hours. This characteristic of the production process ensures the artichoke is crunchy and gives it a flavour rarely tasted in industrially-processed artichokes where for obvious reasons, processing...
Artichokes have been cultivated since ancient times. It is believed ancient Egyptians appreciated their organoleptic and sophisticated properties.
The artichoke is the only vegetable field crop that can be cultivated in those areas with little water. It doesn’t like the cold and is cultivated in regions where temperatures rarely fall below 0°C. Sowing - or better yet transplanting - can be carried out agamically (through plant division) or through seeding. In Cerda, it occurs by dividing the plant, which is uprooted, dried and transplanted in fields.
The artichoke is an autumn-winter-spring cultivation. Different varieties with specific characteristics allow bringing forward or delaying harvesting. Harvesting starts with the Violetto and Terum varieties, followed by the Spinoso and finally Romanesco varieties.
Soil is enriched with organic substances originating from farms in the Madonie mountain area. As the young plants are growing, they are hoed to remove undesired plants.
To date, Sicily is the region that produces the most artichokes in Italy, which holds the world record for the production of this plant.
It is cultivated almost everywhere on the island, especially in the province of Palermo in the small town of Cerda. This leadership must be protected, considering the insistent ascent on the world market of new producing countries such as China, Brazil and Chile.
It is harvested - based on the variety - from October through May, when the plant starts producing the first flower buds. Harvesting involves cleanly cutting off the budding flower heads together with a part of the leafy stalk.
Artichokes are immediately processed and put into jars using the from fresh technique.