Here in the US, you don't find the abundance of herb gardens like you do in Italy. From the vineyards of Alba to the cities of Roma, Venezia and Bari, it is rare not to find a box of herbs on a patio. I thought of this as I was generously watering my basil before leaving for the seashore. Basil, I have learned, loves water, so do tomatoes.
It's summer, plant fresh herbs, tomatoes and more. Nothing makes a sauce fresher than spicing it up with fresh herbs. It's a treat to go outside and pick my basil to season my fish and sauce. Soon, I won't be buying canned tomatoes, I was thinking as I watered the now 2-feet tall leafy plants.
I remember summers in Italy. Fortunately, I picked up some good eating habits and learned the importance of keeping my own garden. If you don't have an herb garden, there is still plenty of time. A few grocery stores offer fresh basil and other herbs already packaged and ready to plant. Pick some up, some potting soil and a flower box. Get that garden started. And in a few years, you'll be planting tomatoes, zucchini and strawberries. (Cherry tomatoes and strawberries will come back every year on their own.) Enjoy your summer and the harvest of fresh fruit and vegetables that mark the season.
On my way to the shore today, I'll stop at plenty of farm stands for peaches, tomatoes and more. And let's not forget the grapes grown at the abundance of wineries cropping up along the East Coast of the United States. Yum. Gas in car. Dog and beach bag in back seat. I'm off.