Garlic Grown in Wisconsin and Fresh Pesto

August 28, 2009


A couple of weeks ago, I saw that Michelle from Big Black Dog wrote about her trip to a garlic farm in Wisconsin. It caught my attention, because A) I live in Wisconsin and B) I know some people who have a garlic farm. I clicked the link and sure enough, it was the garlic farm owned by my sister-in-law’s brother Mike and his wife Karen. I haven’t been to the farm, so I enjoyed seeing the photos and reading about it. Check out their website at http://www.wegrowgarlic.com to see what they’re growing and for detailed descriptions of each type of garlic. Garlic is pretty interesting!

I exchanged a few emails with Karen and she was nice enough to send me some garlic to try. I sliced some Slovenian garlic and roasted it with yellow squash and onions and I used some Killarney Red garlic to make pesto (recipe below). I was curious about the difference between the types of garlic, so I tasted both of them raw. I don’t usually eat raw garlic, but I can confirm that the two types each had a unique taste (check the website for a more detailed flavor description!). Both were also delicious in the recipes I used them in. I also have some German Red garlic which I haven’t tried yet.


I decided that pesto was the perfect thing to make with some of the garlic. I have a large pot of basil that I grew from seed and pesto with homegrown basil sounded great. I decided on Cooking Light’s recipe and the pesto was really delicious – so fresh tasting. The first night we had the pesto on cheese tortellini and another night we had it on a Boboli crust with grilled chicken. Two quick and easy dinners that were delicious with the homemade pesto.

The most time-consuming part of the recipe was picking the basil – 4 ounces is a lot! I kept weighing it and then going outside to get more, and in the end it wiped out almost all the basil I had.

Basil before: this is a lot of leaves!


Basil after: green goodness!


Classic Pesto
from Cooking Light

2  tablespoons  coarsely chopped walnuts or pine nuts (I used toasted pine nuts, and increased the amount a little bit)
2  garlic cloves, peeled (I used Killarney Red)
3  tablespoons  extra-virgin olive oil
4  cups  basil leaves (about 4 ounces)
1/2  cup  (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/4  teaspoon  salt

Drop nuts and garlic through food chute with food processor on; process until minced. Add oil; pulse 3 times. Add basil, cheese, and salt; process until finely minced, scraping sides of bowl once.

* Note that the bright green color doesn’t last; the pesto will darken quickly. It didn’t bother me, but there is a comment on the Cooking Light site about using Fruit Fresh (which is primarily ascorbic acid) to retain the color.


  1. I have a ton of basil in my garden. I like the idea of putting basil on a pizza crust. I’ll have to try that one and use up some of my basil! And the garlic farm sounds awesome!

  2. Wow, that IS a lot of basil…but your pesto looks awesome!!!! So nice that you could get local garlic!

  3. Oh yum. Love garlic. Grew up near Gilroy, CA and loved the garlic smell in the air.

  4. Perfect pesto Jill!

  5. This is great – you remind me that I need to make some pesto today; I think my basil is suffering from lack of harvesting. I think I’ll give the Cooking Light recipe a try.

  6. I envy your lush basil leaves. I have a basil plant but it’s very weak and the leaves are quite pale. Do you have any basil growing tips for me?

    • I’m certainly not a gardener! I usually put a pot of basil on the patio for the summer and it does OK! I’m guessing that it likes a lot of sun.

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