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Join us for a basil picking party this Thursday!

Come join us at the Good Life Garden this Thursday, August 27 anytime between 9:30AM and 2PM to harvest two different types of basil – the Super Sweet Chen and Large Leaf Purple varieties. You can come visit the garden anytime during those hours; in order to harvest enough basil to make pesto (about 2 cups’ worth) you will probably only need ten minutes or so. In the photo below you can see the Super Sweet Chen (left) planted with ageratum and zinnias.

If you are interested, Please RSVP to goodlifegarden@ucdavis.edu so we know how many people will be attending. Directions to the garden can be found here.


The party is free; we just need you to bring the following items:

  • scissors or pruning shears
  • a bag to hold the basil
  • wet paper towels to put in the bag with the basil (if you don’t have a refrigerator to keep the basil in for the day)

BE SURE TO WASH THE BASIL WELL BEFORE ENJOYING ITS FRESH TASTE!

Our gardener Arlene will be there all day to answer your questions about basil and the harvesting process, as well as to direct you to the correct plants. (We have one variety of basil, called Fino Verde, that should not be harvested as the plants are too small.) We also ask that no one remove entire plants or remove more than half of the leaves.

Wondering what to do with all the fresh basil? Here is our garden supervisor Ed Nordstrom’s pesto recipe:

1/2 c. olive oil
2 c. packed basil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. parmesan cheese
toasted pine nuts to taste
lemon juice or Fruit Fresh (ascorbic acid) to retain color and freshness

Blend the oil, basil and garlic in a blender or food processor. Check the consistency and add more basil or olive oil as needed. Add parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts. The cheese will thicken the pesto, so allow for the change in consistency. While toasting the pine nuts, also be aware that the high oil content of the nuts may cause them to burn quickly, so watch them carefully.

Fruit-Fresh is a product you can buy that contains Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and citric acid, which will preserve the color and freshness of fruits and vegetables, and will keep your pesto from browning. Alternatively you can use lemon juice to help retain color.

The Large Leaf Purple basil is also available for harvest on Thursday.

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