organic ways of living | experiencing farm to table meals at Tijara Organic Farm

Organic farming is the future. Many of us are now realizing organic ways of living is not an isolated effort to eat clean or just go find healthy foods and ingredients at the super market. Healthy living and well being is the culmination of what all we do everyday, what we eat and from where we bring our food.

It may seem to be an insignificant part of our lives till we keep scurrying for food only when we are hungry and eat whatever we find when hungry. The picture become more clear once we start looking deeper into food and how it comes to our table.

Once we understand how the food on our tables has changed in the last 50 years we will get the answers to all the abnormal health problems our generation is facing. The way food has become a market commodity, the way food needs to be shelf stable, good looking and the exact way food has to feel and smell when the packet opens, is a testimony to what we have done to our food habits and how far we have placed our tables from the real farms.

We often don't realise that we have corrupted our taste buds to recognize fake food as tasty and satisfying, the chemical flavoring agents of packaged food being directly responsible for it. Our insulin response gets confused because of abnormal sugars being bombarded into the system frequently and the entire scenario starts disturbing the hormone cascade.

Body function is holistic, one action leads to another and starts making a chain of events which is disruptive if our lifestyle is inflammatory, it all starts with food for the body, and that leads to the changes we are causing to the planet. We don't realise we are suffocating the planet too because of our food choices, not only our own health.

I often wonder how our own health is directly related to the health of the planet and yet we keep ignoring so many things we could do right.

Time to wake up.

Getting back to the organic ways of living is not as difficult as we think. We need not give up our petrol fueled vehicles and electricity powered homes, we just have to be careful about the wastage of these limited resources and be careful about not to overburden the Earth so much that it suffocates.
One of the most important things we need to be aware of is the usage of unnecessary chemicals in the form of pesticides and fertilizers. 

I feel fortunate when I come across people who are trying to make a difference at a larger scale, those who are growing organic food and making it possible for people like you and me to have access to organically grown food on our tables.

When I got to know about Sneh and Tara's organic farm at Tijara (Alwar, Rajasthan) I wanted to visit the farm to learn more about the working of a farm that has adopted Biodynamic principles. I have visited the Farm a few times since then and I truly admire the work Tara and Sneh have put in.

The places where I can harvest, can cook and eat with like minded people are the best places in my experience. Sneh and Tara's farm is one such place where I wouldn't mind going back again and again.

They bought the land 6-7 years ago and started working on it to develop it into a productive Biodynamic farm. They installed solar panels, built biogas plant and built underground water channels and storage wells to equip the farm to be energy and water efficient. Rajasthan climate and soil is mostly arid and the water channels have proved their worth and more in the good and bad weather.

Sneh tells me about the time when an unusually high overnight rainfall flooded the neighboring fields for a week and destroyed their crops, while the underground water channels and wells at her farm channeled and stored all the water efficiently and prevented any loss of crop. She informs the water requirement of her farm has reduced a lot in the past years as the water channels are enriching the soil strata from within. We spotted about a dozen Kingfishers who have made nests in the walls of these wells.

They have built green houses too and grow a lot of leafy greens, herbs and exotic salad greens in it. Sneh has built a solar dehydration unit to dehydrate herbs and chillies etc. The farm has a few cows, an adorable dog named Bijli and a number of birds. Many small birds keep hiding inside the carrot beds and Bougainvillea shrubs but the Hoopoe and Kingfishers have become used to humans working on the farm.

Why I connected more with the work Sneh and Tara are doing because this is one place where one can stay for a few days, learn about how food is grown, how it is harvested and how simple yet delicious meals are prepared using fresh produce without using any packaged ingredients. Trust me it will be a good initiation into 'healthy' eating, the way one is supposed to eat naturally.

The good thing is that the couple believes in farm to table meals and promoting local Rajasthani cuisine along with some healthy contemporary options. Tara is a passionate cook who loves to make traditional Indian meals with the help of the cook. This Rajasthani style saag cooked with some sour buttermilk was made by Tara and I kept asking for leftovers later, it was so good.

On the other hand Sneh loves to experiment and makes a variety of pesto, dips and even cheeses and kefir. They make fresh juices for breakfast, fresh fruits have started appearing from the nascent fruit trees and you get something or the other freshly plucked on the breakfast table. Oh and sometimes they bring fresh pakodas from the nearby Jain temple.

They have employed a sweet lady Anita who cooks hot millet rotis on wood fired chulhas and serves them hot with butter. She is the one who milks the cows and feeds them too. There is so much variety of food you never realise it is all vegetarian food, most of the food is traditional but it will feel like a new discovery because Rajasthani food was never known beyond laal maas, kair sangri and gatte ki subzi.

At the farm stay one is always treated with something fresh and unique. The uniqueness comes with the fresh harvest that is never the same, one combines the ingredients in new ways always. Even I made a salad with whatever was available and everyone polished off even the shreds.

The salad was made with freshly harvested carrots, fresh tender knol khol, radishes, green coriander leaves and a small half ripe papaya. I made the dressing with honey, tahini, calamondin juice, garlic, bird chillies and salt n pepper.

I also cooked my favourite wilted spinach with toasted sesame for lunch one day.

The first time I went there for a photo shoot of their property, I got to know it was Tara's birthday. I baked this Ragi cake with minimal jaggery in it and the cake was baked in a ceramic pot over gas flame. These are the things you do impromptu on a farm stay.

You walk around the farms, pluck something if you like, cook by yourself or ask the cook to make something that he suggests, make some tea and relax by the green lawns. Thee guest rooms are a delight to stay in, equipped with modern facilities and pleasant interiors you get to rest well after a tiring day if you decide to volunteer at the farm.

Such places help one connect not only with nature but with oneself too. In the most unpredictable ways trust me, but the realization that simpler food habits are a key to better health. Simple food doesn't mean lesser variety of food but fresh food that is minimally processed and cooked in the most healthy ways.

Once you get the taste of such fresh food you would start thinking more about the origin of food ingredients and how it is cooked in your kitchens. Sneh and Tara's farm achieves this motive for anyone who goes there to have an experience.

Sneh brings her seasonal fresh produce, sun dried herbs and some of her pesto and cheeses to Delhi Organic Farmers Market every Sunday (at Malcha Marg community center). You can connect with her to pre-order fresh produce and herbs etc or just drop in at the farmers market and get your stuff. Go early else her stuff flies off the shelf really fast. She does CSA boxes for select customers in Gurgaon too, I like the way she uses canvas bags to send out stuff for her customers.


  1. This sounds amazing. Can't wait to visit. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Truly farmstays are a unique way to connect with nature and farming, to make our kids know where foods come from.... and yes organic farming is the way forward... we can always see the disastrous efforts punjab farmers are facing due to the green revolution!!!... cancer and other diseases brought on by excessive use of pesticides... reduced productivity, debt.. and then the associated economic n social ills!!


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