Friday 28 June 2013


The joy of eating salads put together using naturally grown leaves is keenly known to those who have made a habit of it.

Many, like us, who only use organically grown leaves in our salad do so for a simple reason. In all our lives, epiphany settled in fairly soon after eating our first bowl of organic salad. Its intense freshness, supremely natural flavours and textures, and an enduring aftertaste made it unimaginable for us to ever eat leaves infused with pesticides, fumigants and sewage sludge. 

Salads at our farm are eaten with minimum dressing and accompaniments. The crunchy leaves have aromas and tastes that are uniquely their own. We like to savour them thus, their natural essences intact. We often make a salad using just one set of leaves to enjoy their singular taste. We mix them up too, on occasions, for fun, and for a different taste.

To cut out a wee bit of bitterness and bite in some, we cleverly throw in oranges (or orange zest), nuts (sometimes caramelised), cucumbers, pomegranates, green apples, sesame seeds and cheese. A dash of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper is allowed sometimes.

Not all salad leaves are this easy to handle. Kale, for instance, poses challenges. This queen of greens is not for the untutored and unprepared green palate. Its raw taste means we indulge the leaves, eating it sautéed, roasted, braised and even deep fried! It could work as a tasty addition to a soup.

Difficult or easy, its fun and tasty . So come indulge in the joys of an organic salad. Join our epicurean journey. Bon appetit!

Below are our prized green leaves ......... nourishing us and our small farm ecosystem!


Sunday 23 June 2013


Today we hit pay dirt. Our compost pit was uncovered after two seasons and it is like waiting for a birth. And happy to report it is a healthy baby. No infestations and the leaves and twigs have decomposed very well, much beyond our expectations. First time we have done this so the excitement is even more! In the picture, you see the well-developed compost that has just been dug out in the foreground. The leaves and twigs in the background will replace in the pit and will be for our future use.

With this perfect compost we start treating the field from tomorrow so we will ready to plant our autumn and winter crops once the main monsoon is over.

Sunday 19 May 2013


Our home is on a two and half acre farmland in Chattarpur on the outskirts of Delhi, acquired by accident. When we moved back from our overseas stint many years ago, the savings did not stretch to an apartment in downtown Delhi. We decided instead to buy land in the city's outlying part, hoping to build a cottage to retire in. There would be birds, dogs, flowers (particularly mogras and madhumaltis climbing walls) and many champa and parijat trees suffusing their scent into the summer winds. So we thought. Luckily, all that happened (except for the cottage which, for a variety of local reasons, stands as a regular house with a gym!).

We now grow greens for our own use - primarily salad greens including a large variety of lettuce, rocket, radish, lemons, tomatoes, beet, celery, parsley, carrots, cucumbers, mint and coriander. This is how we begin the process -sorting the varieties from the time we raise the nursery.

Our lettuce varieties include: Prizehead, Kale, Simpson,Red Romaine, Butter Crunch, Iceberg, Oak Leaf and Regina Dei Chiacci, among others.While we have adequate quantities, sometimes during gestation periods or when they get temperamental, we fall short.

We don’t use any chemicals. Sea weed, home-made leaf manure and vermi-compost nourish the soil. Neem oil and a soup of garlic and chilies protect against pests (thank you YouTube). The produce is very organic but we do not want to go through the trouble of getting the certification. Too cumbersome. 

Our greens look like this when they shoot up long, lovely and lush. 


We throw in a few of our zany little flourishes for a twist in taste.  We have three mulberry trees whose fruits we dry (inspired by our Afghan friends) for that unexpected punch and sweetness to a salad. And, we make a delicious summer cooler from our Chinese oranges (something our Vietnamese friends taught us)

I, Chitra, am a journalist focused on social development communications. My husband Gopi works for an NGO specializing in health care. Though very busy with our careers, we are passionate about eating fresh and natural. If you are too, get in touch with us for our extra produce.