Apparently hailstorms have caused a shortage of specialty Genovese basil in Italy which may have the effect of halting pesto production. "The heart of basil production has been hit," Andrea Sampietro, director of the Ligurian chapter of Confagricoltura, an Italian farmers' lobby. It will not affect industrial production, but high-quality production will suffer," Sampietro told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
The article also had this interesting tidbit: "The basil is hand-picked by workers who are suspended over the plants on boards laid across the greenhouse to avoid trampling the plants and disturbing the soil. " Workers are suspended over the plants? The mind boggles.
Luckily, the shortage should be eliminated by October. Plan your Italian vacation accordingly.
Source: AP reports.