Sea Lion Artichoke Label

Sea Lion Crate Label
Sea Lion Crate Label

In 1922, Andrew J. Molera, the owner of the Cooper-Molera property in Monterey, CA, leased his family’s land in the Salinas Valley to several farmers who had immigrated from Italy and he encouraged them to grow artichokes, which are native to the Mediterranean and had been successfully cultivated in Italy since the 15th century, because he thought they could command a higher price than the sugar beets that had previously been grown on the land.  Eventually, Molera founded the Monterey Bay Artichoke Growers Incorporated, a cooperative that marketed his tenants’ produce under the Sea Lion brand.  From 1925-1930, Sea Lion artichokes were shipped by rail to Philadelphia, New York, Detroit, New Orleans, and Chicago, firmly establishing the artichoke as part of the American diet and a lucrative crop in the Salinas Valley.  Henrietta Shores' vivid painting of The Artichoke Pickers, completed in 1934, illustrates both the labor involved in the picking of artichokes and the Salinas Valley landscape in which it takes place.  Today, 90% of all artichokes grown in the United States are grown in the Salinas Valley and much of their cultivation has been and continues to be done by immigrants.  This crate label survives in the collection of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which now operates Cooper-Molera as one of its historic sites.  

Place(s): Italy,Philadelphia,New York,Detroit,New Orleans,Chicago
Year: 1922

– Katherine Malone-France

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more