(The Humanitarian Social Network)
I have been in and out of Pakistan since the 2010 floods. Was here for a wedding for two weeks in March 2002 before this and an aspiring documentary film maker so in between singing songs and wearing fancy clothes, I would put people on camera and talk about 9/11...yes, I was that American Pakistani relative. That footage exists somewhere and is peppered with 'uncles' scratching their head and being like, you want to talk about what? Why aren't you married yet? I thought you liked to cook?
Obviously, because I like to cook, I should have been married by then. That logic, thankfully, escaped my parents rational thinking. It is true though. I love all things food. I have also been studying to be a health coach and one of the things that I was SO very pleased to find in this visit to Pakistan is organic produce.
I did a bit of cursory internet research to see what existed out there in terms of organic stuff, and found some great articles, here, here and here. The story of organics gets covered in lifestyle sections or fashion sections but at least it gets covered. More and more farmers are looking at moving into organics and the Pakistan National Institute of Organic Agriculture (I know, right? How cool they have one!) are trying to move in the direction of helping farmers make the transition to organic. More on Pak and organics later, but here are some practical things I found on buying organic.
In Islamabad, where I am based, I luckily live near Kohsar Market in F/6. What's great is that one store, GN store carries Daali Earthfood products. Not only is the packaging beautiful, but the stuff inside rocks. Their tag line is: nothing added, nothing removed. The 'nothing removed' bit is important in Pakistan where white rice rules supreme but it's basically nutrient poor because it's so processed and refined. I regularly eat the brown rice of Daali and have already bought the spices to take home with me.
Imagine my surprise when I was standing there are Fresh Farm, the store right in the corner of Kohsar, and right in front of me was some gorgeous looking swiss chard. This is not something I grew up with and was introduced to it from Farmer's Markets in NYC but it grows out here and how beautifully indeed. Along with swiss chard I have been able to buy organic: leeks, dill, basil (Thai and Genovese), arugula/rocket, bok choi/pak choi (and a red variety of it that I'd never seen), all sorts of lettuces, mushrooms, tomatoes and spinach. I tried looking up the label (Stonybrook) on the internet but the supplier seems to not have a website.
In Karachi, you can actually have organic delivery! My house mate is looking into setting something like that up here in ISB, so watch this space for when she manages to get it together for ISB people. In Karachi, Sungold Organics, will actually deliver to your door step. They also supply their produce for popular eateries like Okra in Zamzama. Am only taking Okra by name since my house mate LOVES them and their food when she goes to Karachi. You can also buy other organic produce in Agha's Super Market (in the Clifton, near boat basin area...everyone knows Agha's). Haven't seen it myself but read about it.
People in other parts of Pakistan...where do you buy your organics? Or do you just not bother with organic?