Friday, August 6, 2010

Harvesting basil.

Harvesting basil with Holly was the most fragrant chore I had ever done! I don't think there would be anybody reluctant to to that, except for if you are allergic to basil (I wonder if it happens), have done it so many times that it simply stinks to do it over and over again, or a really lazy bum.

Holly gave me a very special tool, a mini pocket knife. She also gave up her special swiveling chair for me. That chair had a curved base and was swiveling in all different directions (kind of like going with a flow!), making it easier to reach the distant rows of basil.

I got a quick lesson and got busy snapping away a few inches off the tops of the basil plants. I had to make sure that there was as little stem left as possible.

When the tub was filled with the phenomenal crop of basil, we'd move onto a washing station.
A big tub was filled with cold water, and, oh boy, it felt so great to get refreshed and cool off a bit while rinsing the basil tops, pre washing them before the farmer's market.
It was crucial for us to harvest the basil before it got hot. Basil is "the princess among the herbs" and demands a very gentle treatment. If the plant was too hot going into the cool water to be rinsed, it would turn brown!

That's why this apprenticeship on the farm is so important for me as I pick up a lot of small, but important ideas about growing the herbs, harvesting them, packaging and marketing them as well.

When it got too hot around lunch time, we had to stop cutting lemon basil (a basil with a very unique kind of flavor!). The Gardendwellers were more or less set for the farmer's market. Since basil IS the top seller, they will be bringing 80 lbs the freshest and the cleanest basil you can ever find!


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