Where we’ve been…

The torrential rains of the monsoon allow us a bit of a breather on the land. Mother nature waters, we sit back, eat cukes, harvest, and work minimally not letting the jungle overtake. Post monsoon, we get busy. A quick rendition…

Members – two new members have joined us on the land. In India, the cow is synonymous with the mother and considered a Goddess (Devi). Sure, the cow gives milk, but for a grower, she shits and pees all over the land. We’ve willed their presence for some years now and are stoked to be joined by these two gorgeous ladies, with their massive strength and gentle presence.

Sows – while the monsoons have stretched over  by a month, we can’t pass up a sow period. We kickstarted the year with heirloom tomatoes (adding 3 new varieties to the collection from last), cucumbers (1 heirloom variety and another indigenous one), gourds (several local varieties). In store next are chillis, brinjal, radish, microgreens, and a host of weirdly coloured heirloom veggie seeds we got our hands on!

toms

Ingredients – always foraging for food off the land. Sure, we grow, but what does the forest have for us?! This year, we were introduced to a whole list of indigenous monsoon vegs, also bamboo shoots, and we received some delightful mushroom harvests!

Ferments – our ferment continues to brew, feed for the soil, bubbling with life as we continually add new ingredients off the land

Harvests – harvests have included gourds, herbs, pumpkins, and flowers

Making Friends and Foes – as we ogle at the beauty and variety of nature’s creation, and delve into what role they play on the land… well, we make some friends and some foes. For the burrower, our til is kept to a mimimum. And the hornworm in all it’s beauty, does feed off our saplings and is now fed to the fish.

Spreading the knowledge – our goal is to see all growers evolve to clean practices. This year, we have begun work on PurnaMadhuVan, a plot of land around the bend from us, committed to growing clean and nutritious food. Here, starting from the blank slate, we sowed fruit trees for future generations, herbs for a couple years down, shared with them several of our saplings, and shared with you their bitter gourd and pumpkin.

And now, it’s back to the land.

Diwali Gift Hampering…

Create individualized hampers of tisanes, brines, jams, chutneys…

To good health for you and your family!

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Handcrafted Jute gift bags (by artisan Abhijit of Kolkata) hold 3 jars of Vrindavan Farm tisanes, jams, brines

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Handcrafted and hand painted Warli Tea Boxes (by artisan Sunil of Vaknupada) hold 2 or 4 of Vrindavan Farm loose leaf tisanes

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Cane gift hampers hold 6-7 of Vrindavan Farm tisanes, brines, jams, chutney

Amazing Encounters in Food – II

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Farmers Market in a mountain village town

Can a simple relation of good food and man exist, even today?

A recent visit to a small community in the east of France proved it does! Made up of vibrant farmers Sandra, Blanchette and Yves, and bread-makers Nadine and Polo…

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Sandra, the radiant tomato farmer

Sandra nurtures over 150 varieties of tomatoes in her garden, as also herbs and flowers.

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Yves with his produce

Blanchette and Yves grow all sorts of seasonal vegetables, and when asked, What do you do with your left over produce (from a market)? Blanchette replied with full and sturdy eyes… Nothing is left over.

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Nadiene and Polo, bakers with ancient and natural grain

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Sandra in her tomato garden

Nadine and Polo offer bread from ancient grain that’s filled with love.

So why does it work? Small self-sufficient communities with a link between producer and consumer that’s complete. And, including the (super few) steps along the way – the farmers market, the local coop – all are dedicated to good food. The market hosts fruit farmers, vegetable producers, bread makers, cheese makers, forest foragers, and craftsmen that bring together their fabulous produce to share with the community for 4 hours, 2 days a week, year-round. And the produce is absolutely sought out by a community that wishes to eat well. It’s true… The only thing left post market are stories and an amazing sense of community.

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Farmers Market – you buy from the hands that grow

Thanks for sharing your lovely energy and so many seeds!

That’s All Folks…

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The Mango Chronicles

And that’s a wrap for our season! Thanks ALL for sharing in the sweetness.

Ending notes…
Monsieur king fruit sure has a way to whiplash its workers. Did you know, once mango is ripe, the entire tree ripens at once? That’s over 500 fruit from a single tree. So if you’re with more than 1 tree…

This year, while the Jan showers left many agriculturalists wondering about their mango crop, we were showered with almost double the crop from the year before. My guess is, our slow and sustainable natural farming methods are beginning to show.

We brought tons of fruit to Bombay, and you shared it not only with your family and friends locally, but sent it across seas – the UK, Hong Kong, Dubai, China, the US. Chefs explored with mangoes in their kitchens.

The stories you’ve shared kept us going… The school principal who planted herself on the floor, placed a neatly ironed napkin on herself, and proceeded to eat, dripping juice all over, fisherwoman-style. The young lady who remembered only one thing from the night before party, a dude talking about farm mangoes. The Chef that exclaimed, my entire kitchen smells of mango. The lady who shared that her kids chomped through the fruit, for the first time in their lives. The bent over old lady on the street who upon seeing mangoes come into her lap, slowly lifted her head, pulled my face toward her with her street-toughened and thick hands, and kissed my forehead. The guy that said, I don’t really eat mangoes, took one bite, and the statement reversed itself. The BMC street cleaners that stared incredulously at first at the hand from the mango van, followed moments later waving mango to each other, over brooms and across streets. The many who would order a box, and a day later, call, with a sheepish smile in their voice, for another box.

Bombay, thanks for being receptive to naturally nurtured fruit. This year, less folk cared about irregular shape, colour, size, and more folk cared for quality fruit, one that delivers wholesome flavours, but more importantly, one that filled their homes again, of the scents of amba, a memory they had held since childhood.

All this in the span of 5 weeks…

Mirza Ghalib, Urdu and Persian poet, re. the best qualities of mangoes…

“In my vie mangoes should have two qualities, they should be sweet and they should be available in large quantity.”

We couldn’t agree more!

 

Mangoes

Sea of mangoes ripening at Vrindavan Farm