Warden Road Gets Its First Organic Grocer

October 24, 2011 7:50 am

Photo: Roshni Bajaj Sanghvi.

Does Warden Road need another greengrocer? The congested street already has two supermarkets, dozens of bhajiwallas and fruitwallas, and at least one hole-in-the-wall veggie shop (Super Vegetable) that supplies everything that a home kitchen needs. The newest addition to the list is Organic Garden. What distinguishes it from the competition around, is that it sells only organic fruits and veggies. The shop, which opened on Friday, October 21, sells everything from pak choy to peru, from Shimla mirch to shepu, and from lemongrass to limbu. But, as its brochure, says “all fruits and vegetables sold in the Organic Garden are seasonal, as nature intended us to eat them”.

Their glossy flyers, distributed aggressively to anyone who visits the store or even Shrujan (the fantastic Kutchi handicrafts shop) next door, ask the reader: “Pesticides. Chemicals. Fertilizers. Is your food eating you?” Turn the sheet over and you read about how various cancers are caused by chemicals in food and how paying a little more for organic produce in the present ensures good health in the future, as well as savings on medical services, eventually. This is followed by a price list for the season. (Right now, onions are Rs45 a kilo and green chillies Rs90 per kilo, as compared to the Rs20 per kilo and Rs60 per kilo they cost at the neighbourhood bhajiwalla.)

What gives Organic Garden’s marketing copy some heft is the fact that their produce has been accredited by the international agriculture inspection and certification body Ecocert. We were also impressed that the fruits and veggies inside the store look as big and bright as they do on the posters. The shelves are better stocked than at Nature’s Basket’s, filled with different shades of fresh green, but the layout leaves no room for a crowd. If five shoppers enter the one-aisle, 400 square feet Breach Candy store, there will be a jam of people dodging each other. Larger outlets are slated to open in Colaba (1,000 square feet) and Bandra (500 square feet) within the next two weeks.

In our experience, organic produce does not look as good as heavily fertilised, genetically-modified, pesticide-doused crop. The fruits and veggies are typically smaller specimens, with the occasional worm-hole, but with a much more intense flavour. At Organic Garden, however, they look just as large as the non-organic stuff you get everywhere else. While you can stock up on karela, bhopla and tendli at Organic Garden, you still need to go to the Grant Road bhaji market for things like khatta bhaji, arbi, mugri and Surti papdi. Customers who spend over Rs500 at Organic Garden get a large jute bag to carry their shopping home. However, that amount will buy you just about four days of veggies for a plant-loving family of two. At a Grant Road bhajiwalla, you’ll get at least a week’s worth, if not more, for the same amount. We live in a city where we can’t escape from pollution in our air, water or food. Organic Garden is a business set up for people who think eliminating a small fraction of these toxins is worth the huge premium.

For free home delivery from Organic Garden, call 1 800 266 5555.