By Jillian Haguisan
Basil is considered one of the most essential spices in cuisine, and Tumminello’s Fine Basil knows that. Established and run by junior Calogero “Cal” Tumminello, the company provides its customers fresh, homegrown basil plants imported directly from Italy.
The basil seeds are imported from a family store in Italy, and then they are grown on Long Island in Cal’s family garden.
While Cal’s garden has always grown various types of herbs, there was no basil. “My dad always talked about growing basil,” Cal shares. “I decided I was going to [grow] it, and then I said, ‘Hey, why don’t I sell it, too?’”
The basil company first began in March 2019, when Cal planted the first seeds. After growing them for approximately three months, the basil plants were finally ready to be sold. The plants range from $5-10, with each leaf measuring at the size of a palm.
Tumminello’s Fine Basil mainly sells its basil during the spring and summer months, with peak sales during July and August. During the fall and winter, any excess basil is frozen and stored.
Although Cal primarily controls the business, he receives help from both of his parents with growing the basil. Along with collecting the Italian seeds, Cal’s father taught him how to seed and treat the basil. Additionally, his mother has helped both him and his father with the farm. Still, most of the company belongs to Cal. “If there was a stake, I’d have 99% of it,” claims the student entrepreneur.
Though the business is closed for the season, be sure to buy some basil during the spring and summer. As Cal says, “You need some spice in your life!”