“The food you eat can be either the safest & most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison” – Ann Wigmore.
Today, we live in a jet age, we want everything in a fast forward mode, we are so busy building careers and supposedly enjoying our lives, that we forget the necessity of healthy eating. Like a child in a toy store, we all fall prey to those tempting fast food options all available at the tap of a few buttons on our smart phones.
The irony of our generation is that “we live in a world where lemonade is made from artificial flavours and furniture polish is made from real lemons.” – A.E.Newman
Now-a-days ‘go green’ has become a hyped slogan with little implementations. Someone rightly said that to go green, we first need to start with ourselves and our body and what better way than healthy eating and organic food i.e, using organically grown vegetables and fruits, where natural and biological fertilizers and pest control are used.
Do we really need to specify the innumerable benefits of organic farming?
Food is a ‘language’ spoken in every culture. Making this language organic allows for an important cultural revolution whereby chemical toxins and environmental harm are radically reduced, if not eliminated.
To promote this healthy culture, THE MARKET PLACE was organised on the 10th and 11thDecember, 2016 from 12 noon to 8pm at The Vedic Village, a perfect venue that celebrates natural living and loving which blends in with the theme of the event. It was a one of a kind weekend retreat, that brought out the essence of earthy living and we were fortunate enough to be a part of this event.
Two days of continuous activities, eclectic samplings, expert workshops, gourmet lunch and dinner settings, community interactions, industry conclave, wellness expositions were a part of this exclusive residential weekend retreat.
The Idea was to create an event on organic lifestyle trends, by showcasing real products, highlighting real examples, involving real people. It was an opportunity over two days of creating awareness, educating and interacting, building sustainable business platforms for the nascent organic industry in Bengal, evaluating prospects with pan-Indian experts and designing avenues for “wellness lifestyle” in near future.
The highlights of the event were gourmet gatherings with top Indian chefs bringing together the best of global concepts, from curated locavore lunch by Chef Sujan Sarkar from Delhi to lavish Revival Food dinner with renowned chef Saby from Delhi to farm to fork with celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani from Mumbai and local & artisanal slow food with acclaimed chef Abhijit Saha from Bangalore.
This apart there were food anthropologists like Ishita Dey speaking on Evolution of Bengali sweets, Sangeeta Khanna, food & nutrition consultant speaking on the Legacy of Indian Festival and Wedding Food, 23-year old Achintya Anand from Delhi spoke on his full time farming entrepreneurship career and British national David Belo shared his experiences of setting up Earthloaf as a chocolate maker in the heart of Mysore. Sanjeet Chowdhury’s “Visual Feast” photography exhibition and sale brought in a new perspective to food photography.
And that is not all. Agriculture department, Government of West Bengal brought real farmers from several districts to showcase their fresh produces including varieties of rice, vegetables, milk products, spices, fruits and much more. Add to that natural living exponents showcasing Jose Antonio Zelva– Wooden Furniture (Prasad –orfanda) Ruby Rakshit–Sustainable Fashion by MGGSS– revival of Desi cotton and Bengal muslin, Nisheeth Agarwal(Rainbow Organics) – Artisanal cheese and breads, super food, supplements, protein bars, etc.
Since the theme was locavore, we would like to delve into the food served in the curated locavore lunch by chef Sujan Sarkar and chef Saby
Chef Sujan Sarkar
Pumpkin (Kumro) veloute, herb oil (from Vedic village garden) ,Bandel cheese and cauliflower croquette
Beetroot and radish from Krishi Cress farm, tree tomato jam, apricot kernel (from Leh) and sweet potato crisp, local greens
Five grains and tomato risotto, kale (krishi cress farm), coriander and garlic chive pesto (veg)
Pan seared local snapper, coriander and garlic chive pesto, prawn bisque (non veg)
Banana and jaggary (nolengur) tartetatin
Concept Dinner: Revival Food
The Organic Experts
Ravi Rai, an organic farmer from Mirik, Darjeeling said “When I was invited to ‘the market place’, I was sceptic, I did not know if I would get the correct price for my products or not but after coming here I have sold a lot of my produce at a good price … Organic farming involves a lot of sacrifice because we don’t use pesticides due to which a lot of insects eat up our crops. Instead, we use bio-organic fertilizers, to keep away insects and rodents. By default we are organic in the hills we don’t get pesticides in the market. We have about 60% organic certified farms in Darjeeling. “
Mr. Arup Rakhit, part of an NGO that started the initiative of ‘bish mukto haat’ for farmers from the outskirts, forest, hills etc, where organic farming is practised said, “Earlier there were no lifestyle diseases in our country, like blood sugar, cancer, joint pain etc because we would eat more organic food. With the advent of agricultural revolution, the produce has increased, but the quality of the food we eat has decreased which is ultimately hindering us in a big way… Organic is a way of thinking, everything should be done in a natural way and organic food is healthier and tastier.”
Chef Abhijit Saha who got the ‘best chef of India’ award a few years back, explained the concept of ‘Slow food’ by saying that “it is a sustainable way of eating food and thereby saving the biodiversity.”
The market place was an initiative to inculcate the organic, natural way of life where, there would be direct contact between farmers and consumers.
Chef Saby had done a revival dinner where he used his grandmother’s recipes and chulha cooking that had an Armenian influence to it. His dinner was accompanied by five different kinds of wine from five different areas of Italy.
In ‘The let Calcutta surprise you’ event, few same ingredients were given to four different Kolkata chefs who were supposed to cook up a ravishing dish using the ingredients provided. The four Kolkata chefs were chef Pranay Singh from Swissotel, a young chef, Shashvat Dhanaania (21yrs) and owner of ‘to die for’, chef Sambit Banik of Spice Kraft and Chef Madhumita Mohanta of The Lalit Great Eastern. Each of them cooked using the locally available items and impressed each one of us with the heavenly aroma and blissful taste.
Chef Sujan Sarkar’s curated lunch was one of a kind. How often do we get to see such acclaimed chefs cook right in from of us?
When we were served the pumpkin soup, we were not too inclined to try it out, but boy were we surprised! The soup was more than what we had ever expected it to be from the name. ‘Heavenly’ would be an understatement to describe it. If vegetables like pumpkin and beetroot can be so tasty, I guess LOCAVORE is our way of living henceforth.