Guy Watson has been growing artichokes for 20 years; starting with 400, he now has 200,000 on his farm in the UK. The artichoke is a difficult plant to grow, in the US, almost all of them are grown exclusively in California. Here’s a nice piece, courtesy of Riverford1 on YouTube. (Video no longer available).
Here’s some links to information on artichokes from various sites throughout the web:
“Virtually 100 percent of all artichokes grown in the U.S. come from California. Total crop value for the 2007-2008 crop year was more than $50 million.” California Advisory Resource Board
“The artichoke is grown as a perennial, and good varieties are propagated by sprouts that arise from the crowns of the plants in spring. The sprouts grow true to the plant from which they arise. The artichoke belongs to the same family as thistles, sunflowers, lettuce, salsify, chrysanthemums, and thousands of other species.” Plant Answers
“Native to the Mediterranean region, artichokes were brought to the United States in the 1800s and first grown in Louisiana by French immigrants and in California by the Spanish. Today artichokes are grown almost exclusively in California, which accounts for more than 99 percent of national production.” Agriculture Marketing Resource Center