Availability of Thai/Holy Basil? (USA)

As an avid lover of Thai food and of course home cooking, I'm wondering why major grocery stores don't carry either varietal of basil. I live in a medium city in FL and our local "big" grocery stores are Publix/Winn Dixie/ALDI. I've also lived on the west coast in Oregon and the big guys never carried it there either.

I just find it odd because people obviously love Thai food in general, and I feel like most towns usually have at least one Thai restaurant (ours has over a dozen, at least). I know that they have their own ordering systems via the BOH systems. Once people start branching out and cooking at home, Thai basil is a common ingredient, and while there are "substitutes", nothing really packs the same punch. Thai basil is slightly easier to find, while the holy basil used for certain recipes is nearly impossible to find.

I can always pick it up at our MD market, but it can be a longer drive wayyyy on the other side of town. It's kind of funny that sometimes the closest place to buy Thai basil is and entire plant at Home Depot, lol. I'm further confused because Publix will carry other niche herbs (i'm looking at you, culantro). Is it more delicate/ fragile than regular basil? I can't be the only person interested in it!

I'm growing some Holy Basil at home as we speak, but I'm just curious if yall know or have opinions.

submitted by /u/carleetime

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