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    Sign up for cooking classes with locally grown produce at Sustainable Farm.

    IMG_3564YOU can cut it into strips and roast it on the tawa, toss it with lemon grass and soya sauce Asian style, or add turmeric and red chillies to make a sabzi,” lists Krishna McKenzie of Solitude Farm. It is the green papaya, grown in abundance in the Pondy-Auroville bioregion, that he is talking about.
    Locally grown vegetables like peerkangai (ridge gourd) or kothavarangai (cluster beans) are the stars of the cooking workshops at Solitude Organic Farm Café on Saturdays. Swiss chef Sarah Kundig introduces participants to dishes prepared with traditional vegetables they may normally shy away from cooking — in the first workshop last weekend, she made a salad, a smoothie and a vegan ice cream, all using the kozhi keerai (chicken spinach).IMG_3613
    While people consume vegetables grown on hills like potatoes or broccoli, there is little knowledge about the benefits of indigenous produce, feels McKenzie. “Unless they know how to cook them, people won’t eat them.” It also has economic and social benefits as consumers save on cost and interact with farmers.
    Participants leave with a basket of vegetables used in the cooking demo and seeds can also be purchased from the cafe. The workshops are part of the People-Food-Music project of Solitude Farm which the team is trying to replicate among corporates and institutions — it includes setting up vegetable gardens, cooking local produce and sitting down to organic dinners over music. “Everything we do is based on the philosophy of connecting people to where their food comes from,” he concludes.
    On April 2, 9 and 16, from 3 pm to 4.30 pm. Rs 400. Details: 9843319260

    — Olympia Shilpa Gerald

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