Growing basil outside of Britain has been the subject of a lot of speculation since the BBC began broadcasting a series of stories about the UK’s first basil grower, John Lewis.
The BBC story was based on a story from 2010 about an unnamed British grower in Kenya who was accused of growing some of the world’s most sought-after basil for a Thai restaurant.
The story described John Lewis’ basil growing operation as “one of the largest basil farms in the world,” which he claimed was growing basil that was harvested from the local forest.
The BBC story included an image of John Lewis’s basil growing on a mountain in Kenya.
However, there were some issues with the BBC story that prompted people to wonder if John Lewis had grown basil outside the UK.
The BBC told CNN that it was based off the original BBC story, but the BBC was not able to confirm that the original story was accurate.
A year after the BBC article went live, John the Basil Grower tweeted that he had grown more than 3,000 metric tons of basil outside London in 2013, with some growing on the roof of a hotel in Kenya, and a nearby farm.
It is believed that John Lewis was not the first grower of basil to grow outside of London.
According to the BBC, a number of British growers have also grown basil on roofs outside the city of London in the past, including one grower who was in charge of basil growing at a hotel on the Thames.
In 2015, a BBC story about a German grower was picked up by several news outlets including CNN, The Guardian, and the BBC World Service, which claimed that the grower had planted around 1,200 metric tons (1,300 tons) of basil in the UK between 2005 and 2014.
The grower’s name was Peter Wüstenberg, and according to the report, he was also the man behind one of the most prolific basil farms on the planet.
However, a CNN report from 2015, citing unnamed British growers, claimed that Wüsselenberg’s plants were far less than 1,300 metric tons, and were actually around 700 metric tons.
CNN later retracted their story and retracted the BBC’s story from 2015.
In 2016, a group of Italian farmers alleged that they had grown 1,400 metric tons worth of basil out of the roof in the Alps between 2007 and 2010.
The Italian newspaper La Stampa claimed that it had harvested around 1.6 million metric tons over three years.
The article said that the basil grown by the group was “from a well-known grower” who was named after a famous poet, but didn’t provide any other details.
In 2014, a documentary called Basil’s World by the BBC showed a series in which Italian growers said they grew basil on the rooftop of a London hotel.