This last Saturday my family gathered for a pesto party. It was not an eating pesto party although we did do that as well. We were making pesto to freeze for next winter when gardens are only a dream and a hope in our heads.
(Pesto a sauce originating in Genoa, which is located in the northern region of Italy. It originated around the 16th century and traditionally consists of crushed garlic, basil and pine nuts blended with Parmesan cheese and olive oil.)
This whole thing started in late winter. My daughter and I have been starting seeds for gardens for a few years now. Well, really I start them because she is teaching and I am retired. Anyway, this year we decided to include her cousins who have recently moved into town. One, who has been gardening out in a suburb and one who has moved from San Fransisco and has never really garden but now owns a house and a wants to garden. This group gathered in early March to begin planning and putting seeds under grow lights.
We gathered again in April to transplant our little seedlings and with this gathering we began to call our collection of plants a little farm. Once weather warmed I moved all these plants out onto the deck to get acclimated to the brighter light and change of temperature. Our emails back and forth began to use the title Tiny Farm.
In late May plants were passed out and each of us went home to plant and grow for the summer. It is now July and a bit early for Minnesota but basil is growing and needs to be used or saved. So a pesto party was call.
Saturday afternoon we had 9 of us – two who were just there to observe, be taste testers and enjoy the craziness, one who was there to be watched, held and to sleep (that would be Mason the 2 week old grandson) and the rest of us were in the kitchen washing basil, grating cheese, chopping garlic and blending it all into the wonder that we call pesto.
Here we are a small American family of Swedish background with a bit of Polish and German mixed in making pesto – a sauce that come from northern Italy. Our little family (familj in Swedish) gathering like our farm ancestors did years ago on the farm in Swedesburg, Iowa. They did not make pesto – they made rye bread, apple sauce and canned veggies from the garden but gather they did. (We may do some of that in the fall.)
We also gathered to talked, laughed, passed the new baby around and then around again. We eat snacks, tasted pesto and enjoyed a lovely summer afternoon as a family.
It was a wonderful day. For years we as a family have been a long distance away from each other. Some of us a long ways physically (like on the other side of the country), some of us have just been engaged in our own lives and did not find the time to gather. For whatever reason we have now found ourselves living a bit closers, finding time in our schedules and an activity that is bonding us.
I don’t know if it is the family history of farming, the interest in good healthy food, a new baby or the health issues that arose this year in a few member of the family but I don’t care. I care that we are now gathering, talking, sharing and connecting.
Carrie, one of the cousins, came with canvas bags for each of us. A large circle on the front of this bag stated Familj Farm ( est. 2019). It was a little thing that was really very big. A beautiful symbol of pulling us together, holding space in this bag for the products we grow and make from the garden and most importantly from our time together as famlj.
New cousins just meeting!
A little family gathered: There was the oldsters- my brother, his wife, my sister, myself and my husband. Then the cousins – Missy, Carrie and Allison. Last but certainly not least the new cousins – Abby, 13, and Mason, 2 weeks.
(We did miss a few – Cousins in New York – Pete and Madison plus Ray and Matt in town but off getting other things done. We missed them but will get them included in our next adventure I am sure.)