Elgin Pesto

Central Market has nothing on Lauren Buescher. Rows of fresh vegetables in beautiful colors, unusual shapes, exotic varieties. We have a pretty big garden at home, and generally it performs well, thanks to Gene who does all the work. I harvest, and I cook. I do not weed, I do not plant, I do not water, I do not get dirty in the garden–those are all Gene’s tasks, and he performs them admirably and with great results. But the Bueshers’ garden is a thing of beauty to behold, and puts our garden in a different category….like the difference in a picture book and a chapter book; or maybe a Texas “lake” and a real lake in Minnesota; brownies from a box versus brownies from scratch. You get my drift.

After a garden tour in which we sampled Chinese long beans, carrots, tomatoes, and various herbs, we watched the guinea hens (they eat their weight in bugs), who scurried around the yard in a little pack, and the laying hens, and the 6-week-old kitten. Back inside, we enjoyed herb butters and herb bread and fresh fruit; then we sat around the kitchen island and talked about growing, drying, freezing, and using herbs. Oh, and we made pesto (so easy…who would have thought?).

Throughout this time, we talked–about cooking, about families, about faith and life. It was so nice to have time set aside for fellowship and for learning some new garden tricks. I came home ready to plant mountains of basil and store a year’s worth of pesto sauce in my freezer, and to dry my herbs at the end of the season instead of just letting them freeze and die. But most importantly, I came home having enjoyed Lauren’s hospitality and having spent time knowing and caring for friends – both old and new.

It is a long trek out to the Bueshers’ home, in Elgin, but well worth it. If you’ve got a hankering for a little bit of country, and a lot of warmth and comfort, give them a call.