Planning to make pesto? Do it before the downy mildew crushes your dreams!

An email arrived this morning from Suzanne Long, the ebullient owner of Luna Bleu Farm in South Royalton. "We picked our first melons yesterday...," she wrote. "Not enough for market but I bet Geo at Hurricane Flats has them."

Suzanne Long with her first melon of the season.

Then she turned cautionary. "Tell people not to hold back on getting basil for pesto," she warned. "Downy mildew can wipe out farmers' crops and I think it has taken off with this recent wet weather."

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Downy mildew's misleading. It just looks like a case of malnourishment. It's not. It can wipe out entire crops. It's already been reported in Massachusetts and New York this year, so there's no reason to think it's not here. 

So if you've been enjoying the thought of a few containers of homemade pesto sitting in the freezer, waiting to brighten up your winter, better play it safe. Make it now!

Basil with down mildew

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