One of the challenges with growing artichokes in Texas is spring and summer heat, Leskovar said. Warm temperatures can speed choke maturity, quickly pushing them over the top.
“The quality of the head is really dependent on the day-night temperatures,” he said. “When you get close to the summer, you get rapid growth, so you have to be careful in not pressing the maturity stage.”
Murray said the grower-shipper spent two to three years finding the best ways to harvest and pack artichokes.
“It was a learning experience,” he said. “All of our crews were new to this. Now are customers are saying we’re getting our packs down and the quality is improving.”
The artichoke deal also has opened other doors for MO Produce, Murray said. Austin-based Whole Foods approached the grower-shipper this season about producing 50 acres of organic cabbage, kale, collards, beets and onions.