Stocking unusual products like seam paal, direct from source, this online store encourages kitchen experiments
n the third floor of a building in T Nagar, surrounded by computers and ideas, a 20-something couple is going online to be part of the organic culture that has taken root in the city. At the two-month-old website, thefarm.in, Karthyayini Sidharth, 24, and Sidharth Vijayakumaran, 26, sell only products sourced directly from farmers. “Currently, we retail over 70 products, including rice, pulses, eggs and milk, and we have at least two farmers supplying each of them. We want to cut out the middlemen, give farmers their due and ensure our customers get farm-fresh produce,” begins Sidharth, who assures us they don’t stock any packaged organic brands.
Some monkey business
Vijayakumaran, who has been managing his father’s organic coffee and pepper farm in Yercaud for seven years, came up with the idea when his day job as a project engineer began to bore him. Then the couple, who got married in 2013, began hammering out the details and decided on a website—easy to manage and with more reach. “I’m called the lorry driver because I travel a lot, meeting farmers all over the state, ensuring that everything we buy is grown in organic conditions,” smiles Vijayakumaran. The design and marketing he leaves to his wife, an electrical engineer who studied Italian culinary art at Florence’s Apicius International School of Hospitality. “My love of food and freshness is also reflected in our venture,” says Sidharth, pointing to the various specials they have on offer. “You will not find seam paal (the cow’s first milk after it gives birth) anywhere else. We also have single origin monkey parchment coffee (rhesus monkeys eat the sweetest coffee berries and then spit out the beans, which are then hand-picked and processed) that has a full-bodied flavour. We are always on the lookout for new yet traditional products the city folk may have never heard of,” she says.
From the barnyard
While their cold pressed gingelly oil (made with palm jaggery as it is done in villages), naatu kozhi eggs (from free range hens), and their rice (including forgotten varieties like maapilai samba and thooyamalli) are finding fans—they already have over 400 registered customers—their fresh buffalo (Rs 80) and cow’s milk (Rs 70) are a hit. “With more customers asking for daily milk runs, we now provide them in one litre glass bottles, under the name Madras Milk,” says Sidharth, adding that they will be soon be introducing half litre bottles, too. Up next, you can expect to buy fresh goat cheese (made by a Frenchman in Auroville), churned butter, sour cream, gluten-free breads and condiments like pickles. “We are also looking at taking over a few acres of farmland and growing our own vegetables and fruits,” says Vijayakumaran. And that’s not all, a restaurant could be in the pipeline, too, helping Sidharth show off her skills behind a stove.
Same day delivery. Rs 14 onwards. Details: thefarm.in
—Surya Praphulla Kumar