September’s Herb of the Month

Thai Basil

IMG_1722We have been growing many different types of basil on the farm. In general, basils are associated with happiness, luck and flavor and their sweet aroma always puts me in a better mood.  My great grandfather’s name was Basil and I have had an affinity for this herb for a long time.  Lately, I have been thinking a lot about Thai Basil.  This was a great growing year for all of our herbs, especially Thai Basil, and I am excited to make some Thai Basil Pesto with our bumper crop.

There are many varieties of Thai Basil and ways to integrate this unique basil into your home meals. We grow the sweet thai basil which is also known traditionally as ‘horapha’.  It is similar to and often confused with both the holy basil and licorice basil which I will talk about in a later post.  In general basils are extremely medicinal in addition to being an oh-so-flavorful addition to a recipe.  It is exciting that OSU’s NWREC in Portland is hosting a variety trial of Thai Basil this year–you can check out their list of varieties here.

I recently approached a local Thai restaurant about selling them our organic basil. I was shocked to hear what they were paying per pound from a Seattle warehouse–it is so cheap! I know that every business has to keep its costs low, but it is hard to think about how this beautiful plant can be grown commercially for that price.   When it comes to Asian food, I confess that I am less selective about where my meat and veggies come from since I am too distracted by the unique tastes and textures and the inherent beauty and ceremony in Thai food preparation and presentation.

Does anyone have a recommendation for a good Seattle to BC area Asian restaurant that is affordable and sourcing local or organic foods? My search continues. For now I will work with some recipes at home with this special plant.

In thinking about Thai Basil I was taken back to my 2008 trip to Thailand.  My mom and I visited my sister who was living their at the time. It was one of the most amazing trips of my life and I still find a lot of peace and serenity thinking about that beautiful landscape and the food culture inherent to that place.

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Well, back to reality. There is still a lot to do here before those frosty mornings set in. We will be featuring a favorite herb once a month so stay tuned for more posts as well as our regular podcast.  Here comes October!

Jessica