Organic food outlets sprouting all across Delhi

Going green

Organic food outlets sprouting all across Delhi

The concern over chemicals, pesticides and dangerous growth hormones in food is fast moving from news bulletins and TV talk shows to dinner tables.

The proof is the sudden rise of organic food selling outlets in Delhi. Once unheard of, these outlets are selling everything from chemical-free rice, pulses, vegetables, spices to even milk and coffee. What’s more, an increasing number of health-conscious Delhiites are taking their monthly groceries from here, even though organic food is far more expensive.

One of the most popular outlets in Delhi, Ahana Organic specialises in organic rice and dals. However, they also sell a limited and seasonal produce of mustard paste, tea, pickles, herbs and flowers. Interestingly, Ahana was started by an American lady Lakshmi Tripathi who was advised by her Indian guru to feed people. Lakshmi bought a piece of land close to Bena­ras and started farming there sans pesticides.

Her daughter, Vindhya Tripathi, who now manages Ahana’s sales at different shops in Delhi - Ploof in Lodhi Colony and Health is Wealth in Defence Colony, says, “Organic food is a movement and it is only set to grow in years to come. People are increasingly realising the harms of pesticide-ridden food and shifting to consuming organic food only.”

“There was a time when we would have only NRIs and embassy officials as our customers but today, people just walk into our store, buy a packet of say organic dal, realise it’s much more tasty and healthy and keep coming back us thereafter. It’s true that organic food is three-five times more expensive than regular foodstuff but people who realise that it’s good in the long term and can afford it, are willing to spend.”

Another such outlet in Delhi, the Altitude Store in Meherchand Market sells everything from vegetables, pulses and rice to even organic dairy products like milk, white butter and a range of cheeses. Its managing director Ayesha Garewal says, “When we started about two years back we had 118 items in our shop, now it’s crossed 1000. We want to stock every such item which is required in an average Indian kitchen and facilitate organic meals.

“Many organic stores in India keep only certain English vegetables like Artichoke, Asparagus, Baby leeks and baby turnips, but we stock most vegetables used in an Indian homes. The best part is that as demand grows, the price goes down. Very soon, organic food may come back to rule the market like it used to in the good old days.” Amen.

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