CITY boy Waseem Chishty wanted to pursue farming for as long as he can remember. So did his school friend Harish Pattath. They love nature, its bountiful crops, and the concept of sustainability. In late 2014, they left their jobs as an IT security consultant and microbiologist respectively, and travelled around South India to understand its rich yet fledgling agrarian heritage better.
While they realised they aren’t equipped enough to run their dream ‘sustainable’ farms consisting exotic veggies (such as zucchini, oregano, thyme), they wanted to help the indigenous farmers, and crops get their due. That’s how their one-month-old e-store, Total Organiacs, came along.
Operating out of Chishty’s 2-bedroom home in Indiranagar, this portal sells ‘farm2home’ organic food, from teas, coffees, cereals, pulses, millets, flours, spices, jaggery, oil and ghee to ready-made snacks (ragi/red rice that you can consume with milk). Their lifestyle catalogue includes natural shampoos, soaps, detergents, floor cleaners sourced from Mitti Se, and Khadi.
Their stock comes from a dozen farmers, and five to six co-operatives spanning Coorg, Vellore, Wayanad, Ernakulam, Goa, and fields in the interiors of Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, and Nagaland.
The green stock
There’s black rice from Meghalaya, that tastes like roasted nuts. It is softer in texture, and is considered a blood tonifier. Legend has it that only Chinese royalty could consume it, and that’s why it’s also called Forbidden Rice. Or, choose from their unpolished bamboo, red, or brown rice. On popular demand, they have stocked organic white rice as well. Get your dose of high fibre from their millets, bajra and ragi. They offer three types of millets in wholegrain form — foxtail, barnyard, and little.
The spice section includes green cardamom, black and white pepper, chillies from the bird’s eye family, cinnamon, coriander, and Naga chillies. He singles out the Lakadong turmeric, and tells us that it is high on curcumin content, and is, thus, good for immunity.
Health freaks can look out for amla powder (for Vitamin C), jamun seed powder, and elephant apple powder (good for diabetics). You can also get their special breakfast millet mix, made from maize, wheat dalia, cashews, red rice, and millets. Add it to a glass of warm Horlicks, or roll it out as rotis. You can also chew on dry fruits, which include raisins from Belgaum, and cashewnuts from Meghalaya (nuttier), and Goa (bigger in size).
Their in-house specialties include two tea blends, for the health conscious. “One contains whole leaf Assam green tea with costus igneus plant leaves. In Ayurveda, costus is referred to as the Insulin plant. In the second blend, we have added stevia leaves, a natural sweetener,” he shares.
Soon, the duo will launch a DIY box contianing seeds, compost, and other biodynamic additions to build your own kitchen garden.
Rs 35 upwards. A minimum order of Rs 350 to be placed a day before. Details: totalorganiacs.com
— Barkha Kumari