During our long, dark winters back in Maine, one of the things that brought back the essence summer faster than a black fly bite was the taste of pesto. Each year, we would grow several rows of basil in our herb garden and, at the warning of the first frost in September, we would hurriedly pick all the leaves and make batches of pesto to freeze. Then, sometime around mid-January, when we were just beginning to feel as if winter would never end, we would take out a container of pesto from the freezer and have a little summer-fest by the fireside.
Here in the Tucson desert, our summer season for basil is extended and, with some care during frosts, can be year-round! But this past weekend, we decided to harvest all our plants (some of which were several years old and had grown woody stems), make several batches of pesto, and then plant anew - both with seeds given by our friend Laura from Renée's Garden, and with new plants from the nursery. This was done, of course, while enjoying some homemade bread and wine, and while Mark read to me experts from The Enchantress of Florence.