When summer’s on its way, so are the best tomatoes. I must get prepared! It’s finally time to plant basil in my herb garden. It likes the warm weather, and soil that is no cooler than 50°F at night, so I always wait until June 1st to plant. And I always plant basil in the sunniest part of my garden here in the northwest. My basil likes to be moist, but not over-watered, and cut back regularly. Which means, it is happiest when I use it often and continually harvest those leaves. Fresh basil has a fragrance like no other, and to me signifies the height of summer and all it’s glory.

At the farmer’s market or your local nursery, look for Genovese basil, purple, globe and cinnamon varieties, just to name a few. Besides Caprese salad and pesto, basil is luscious in green salads, just torn with the other salad greens. Or toss basil with a plate of hot pasta, garlic and fruity olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper, sprinkled with freshly grated Parmesan.

To find a farmer’s market near you, view a map presented by the USDA and select your state.