Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cool Nights

I have been enjoying the cool nights. On Sunday my family enjoyed a fire pit in our back yard. the temperature and breeze was just perfect. Over the summer Madisono's has been using local basil for my lemon basil sorbet. These cooler nights and shorter days are beginning to show on the basil that is coming in. The leaves are no longer big, bold and meaty. There are more flowers on the tops, which have to be dicarded, the leaves are 1/1o the size of the early pickings. I farmed for my parents 5 years in West Union Ohio. The farm was certified organic through OEFFA and basil was one of my crops. We sold to several restaurants and to QueensGate Foods. At the peak of the season we would harvest 100 pounds a day. Observing the basil now it brings back fond memories of those days and also anxiety for my local basil farmer. I know and she knows that the first frost day is just around the corner. These cool nights are a tease for that and when it hits the basil is the first to go. It will not take even a nip. When that happens the harvest and cash flow stops. I tried covering with remay cloth but we had so much it was next to impossible.
When the basil stops I will seek out basil from the south and at some point it will be coming from California. We are all connected to these cycles some more than others. Many have lost their jobs from the current depression but farmers always lose their jobs when Jack Frost rolls around. I hope that you have had a chance to enjoy my lemon basil this summer. I expect the outlying areas will see one sometime late September or early Ocotober if we are lucky.