A decade ago, we had purveyors and vendors approach us at our hotels with organic food products that were then imported into India. The product list was insufficient to introduce into hotel menus since the range of products was limited and not all encompassing to provide the diner with an “ethical” first and “certified”later organic culinary offering. This made chefs reluctant to provide this differentiated repertoire to our guests at that point.

But so much has changed since. India is now certainly on the threshold of an agricultural revolution. The urgent need to reverse her chemical dependant farming approach to more mindful, beneficial to the earth and mankind, is finally taking precedence and leading up to become an organic agriculturalnation again.

Why am I propagating that you make the switch too, read on.

Reason # 1: Growing availability: While initial forays were made indry goods, namely cereals, grains, spices, today it is heartening to see the burgeoning growth in all food segments including fresh produce, oils, dairy products, processed, ready to eat products even cheese!

Reason #2: Shrinking price difference: Understandably, a few years ago the cost of purchasing organic products and produce was prohibitive. For a miniscule percentage of the country’s population, price of purchase was non constraining. Today the margins between organic and inorganic products are shrinking. Do a survey yourselves and compare prices. When you consider the benefits of buying the organic option, the difference even if not marginalleads me to present the next reason to make the switch.

Reason # 3: The rise of disease and allergies: The last four decades have seen an uncanny upsurge in “never before heard” diseases, auto immune disorders, allergies and the like. Is there a correlation to chemical backed farming that swept our nation’s agricultural practices in the early 50’? While I cannot prove that, I am willing to slot this as the most important reason for you to make the switch.

Chemicals in our food chain are the culprits of the new risk we are all in - long term residual effects on our body and our wellbeing. Look around you, the perfectly shined, shaped and coloured   fruits and vegetables When you hold them up to whiff whether they are ripe  . . . can you smell the overwhelmingly intoxicating smell from a naturally ripened musk melon or the sensuous aromatic lingering of organically farmed peaches? Take the next test - do they even taste as any good? I know the answer to that already!

With organic vegetables and fruits, grains and pulses, you are eating the real thing - ingesting foods that our bodies were made to ingest - natural and in season.

Let me prove my point further. Sauté a bunch of organic spinach and the rewards are instant. Sweet, yes, Sweet!!! Mild flavoured not sharp; almost bitter like the inorganically grown type. Steam a head of sweet corn in its husk and devour the planet’s most incredible vegetable - rich in minerals and fibre - a super food and a great snack. The flavours shine through. . .

The reasons are endless. And I can go on but I will conclude with this:

In the last ten years, my culinary philosophy evolved; so that I was cooking In Season to “Celebrate the Ingredient”. Several alterations ensued, the most precious and life changing was paying heed to a friend’s advice. A friend who returned home after doing a Master’s in Global Finance, wanting to make meaningful changes. They started with working with farmers and creating income-enhancement opportunities, today she spends all her time and vests all her energies in growing and procuring organic produce both ethical and certified. The list has grown to over 500 products and I for one am the happiest for it!

Be aware of what you buy, of what you eat. Make the switch.. . . it is life changing and so worth your while. . . .