Friday, February 4, 2011

What? No Basil?

Caprese lovers, start hoarding your fresh basil! Hawaii is in the midst of a basil crisis!
A nasty fungus known as “basil downy mildew” has infested practically the state’s entire sweet basil crop, and is continuing to spread rapidly. It’s the first time this has happened in Hawaii, and farmers are stepping up their efforts to stem the tide.
Peronospora belbahrii thrives in cool weather and heavy rain, two weather conditions that Oahu has been experiencing lately.

The pathogen gloms onto the underside of basil leaves and creates a mess of black or brown spores. The leaves can’t take it, and turn yellow or dark before dying.
Supermarkets are addressing the shortage by importing more of the green stuff, but prices have risen as a result of the local attack. Soon, it is predicted, hotels and restaurants that buy basil in large quantities will begin to feel the pinch.
Damn! I may have to postpone making caprese salad – sliced tomatoes alternating with mozzarella cheese and basil leaves, lightly salted and dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Maybe I need to go back to the ubiquitous potato-macaroni salad that Hawaii is so famous for.

1 comment:

casch said...

Oh you don't know how I love basil and how much I use. Guess I'll grow my own again this year. I even have some of mine frozen so I can use it in the winter.