Selling Basil

The library had an exhibition of photos from old Sedgefield last week. There was our house, one of four or five cottages dotted on a roadless hill, in a picture taken in the late 40s. I could only tell it was our house by the position, the white shack in the photo bears no resemblance to the big hodge-podge of a house it is today.

Every owner has added on a room here, a second level there, a loft in the roof – every time the family grew they built an extra room, and I’m sure there was no planning permission – we have an outside bathroom, an outside bedroom and a strange brick and glass  structure next to the front door we euphemistically call the Sun Room.

Until now the place been a dumping ground for bikes and boards but it’s become my basil growing room. With abundant warmth and light the basil has gone berserk, every seed has germinated and flourished – even if we ate pasta and pesto every night for months we would never work through it.

My mom was bragging about it to the woman who owns the local health shop, telling her how its grown in organic compost and watered only with rain water. Upshot is that the health shop will buy as much basil as I can sell, so I’m now in the herb business.

It’s not going to make my fortune and having just finished watching all the seasons of Weeds I’m wondering if my grow room couldn’t be put to more effective use and help pay my crippling mortgage. . .


Transplanting basil from the grow room into the herb garden.

3 Responses to “Selling Basil”

  1. 1 Lisa October 10, 2009 at 11:46 am

    How about processing it into jars of pesto – bit of outlay on the ingredients, but couldn’t you sell that for quite a lot more than the little seedlings? Our local Italian deli, Giovanni’s (possibly the best deli in the universe) makes an amazing basil pesto that sells for around R45 a tub (which is about the size ofa small cream cheese container). I’m currently marvelling at their incredible goats cheese and parsley pesto. It’s just not a wildly economical choice, with macadamia nuts and Spanish goats cheese! But a straight basil pesto could be…

    Great idea Lisa! As for that goats cheese and parsley pesto, wow, I wouldn’t waste it on pasta, I’d eat it by the spoonful. Divine!

  2. 2 shoreacres October 13, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    And don’t forget restaurants. What Alice Water started at Chez Panisse has circled the globe, and you might well have a chef or two around with slow food tendencies 😉 Even if the restaurants aren’t doing all organic or locally grown, there can be a terrific market for herbs.

    A gal about 15 miles up the road on a tiny acreage with chickens, goats and a garden can’t keep her eggs or herbs in stock – or even the veggies I like, now that I think about it. She’s in the process of building a greenhouse-type thing to keep her herbs growing through our winter.

    If you can’t grow all year long, processing into pesto would be a good way to keep selling in winter.

    • 3 Jeannine October 15, 2009 at 6:51 am

      Great tip Linda! Growing in winter is a fab idea, and I think the room will be warm enough. I’m definately going to give it a try, the woman at the nursery told me people ask for basil all year round.

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