I was thrilled to participate in a pesto making session last Friday for my daughter’s school. Sabina, an avid gardener and fellow mom, has slowly but surely been teaching the school children how to plant, grow and then eat various fruits and vegetables. Her influence is immeasurable, as she humbly works behind the scenes to broaden our children’s knowledge about food and where it comes from, as well as their palates.
One of her projects, the “Pesto Fest”, has become an annual highlight for my fifth grade daughter, along with many other kids at school. At this event, Sabina harvests the garden basil and garlic that she planted with the school children and then makes massive amounts of pesto. She later prepares a pesto pasta snack at the school for some 500 kids to sample. It’s a huge undertaking that remarkably, she usually does alone — until this year when she invited me to help.
So, the other day, with my Vitamix in tow, I eagerly joined Sabina. She welcomed me on a bench outside her kitchen, and I joined her in the task of separating the basil leaves from the stems. As we worked together, we talked about her garden, her admirable green lifestyle and her unassuming volunteer endeavors at school. In fact, in just fifteen minutes I learned more about Sabina than I had ever known before.
When we had enough basil to make a few batches, I went inside her kitchen to wash the leaves and sauté the garlic. As she continued working on the basil, I put my Vitamix to work and cranked out several containers of pesto. Used to a food processor to do her blending, I think Sabina didn’t quite expect to get so much and we were running a bit low on containers. Sabina offered to run to the store. I couldn’t stop smiling when I noticed her put on a bike helmet and peddle away — a small step that makes the world a healthier place and keeps her in shape at the same time.
I was astonished how fast she returned. In fact she got back quicker than she would have by car. And as we finished the last of our 16 pints of pesto, she remarked about how impressed she was at our efficiency. The Vitamix blender is now on her Christmas wish list and I am pretty sure I’ll be recruited again, maybe to make some kale crisps or soup.
Sabina made me think about a lot that afternoon. How nice it is to slow down and get to know someone you may otherwise not get to know and to peddle instead of drive. Sabina is an inspiration in more ways than one and I am really happy to have been part of “Pesto Fest.” I wish the children could have been there to see the process.