Bonkers for Basil? Make a Beeline for Basil Fest!

Tomato and basil will always be BFFs, but you’ll discover new wondrous ways to experience this versatile herb during the free event!

Quick — name five herbs you couldn’t live without in your kitchen! Does basil come to mind? If your mouth waters at the thought of this flavorful herb, then mark your calendar for Basil Fest Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pearl.

Basil is one of my top five favorite herbs, its aromatic leaves adding a quick punch of flavor to many different dishes and drinks. Yes, tomato and basil will always be BFFs, but you’ll discover fresh ways to marry this versatile herb during the San Antonio Herb Market Association’s free event.

Here’s just a taste of the tantalizing fun to take place.

Basic Basil Skills

Join Shane Dunford from Nature’s Herb Farm at 9:30 a.m. for “Everything you need to know about Growing Basil.” Chef Olaf Harmel will share how to create refreshing drinks and cocktails at 10:15 a.m. Just in time for summer!

Although best used fresh, you can preserve basil’s delicious flavor. Learn canning skills and put the herb up in your pantry at 10:50 a.m. with Dr. Connie Sheppard from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

“A Brunch of Basil”

Stop by the “Chefs Challenge” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The herb association invites celebrity chefs to create basil-themed recipes. This year it’s “A Brunch of Basil” with Jenny Mattingsley from The Oblate Center, Suzanne Parker of Powerhouse Bakery and Gordon Peavy with Pam’s Patio Kitchen.

Try samples of the chefs’ basil-icious creations and vote for your favorites by making a donation (cash or check only). Proceeds benefit a local charity.

Grow Your Own Basil

Kids can pot a basil plant to bring home with help from the Junior Master Gardeners. A variety of basil plants will be available for purchase at the plant sale.

Basil grows great here in San Antonio and does well in containers, if you’re short on space. Try sweet basil, lemon basil, cinnamon basil or one of the other 100-plus varieties (not all will be available for sale at the event). There’s a basil for every taste!

Picture of Sasha Kodet
Sasha Kodet
Sasha Kodet is a conservation planner whose large garden attracts a myriad of wildlife and curious neighbors with minimal water. At SAWS, Kodet develops outdoor programs to help people create their own beautiful, water-saving landscapes. She draws on her two decades of experience as a naturalist, botanical garden educator and event planner. Kodet enjoys (really) long walks in the woods and has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail and the Long Trail.
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