Nature’s basket

Block cartwheels and terracotta lamps decorate the lounge at the Greenpath Organic State, a newly launched organic hub at Malleswaram in Bengaluru. Spread across 24,000 square feet, it is the largest of its kind in the country and offers a wide variety of organic items ranging from clothes, bags and cosmetics to jewellery, vegetables, rice and masala powders. A visit to a restaurant there called Forgotten Food makes one realise that organic food need not be bland, boring or expensive. A three-course buffet costs just Rs 550. The menu includes Raggi- and millet-based soups, horse gram sprouts and white pumpkin halwa, besides different kinds of rice, roti, curries and salads.

H.R. Jayaram, a social entrepreneur and the founder of Greenpath, says he is driven by passion and not profit. “I am trying to change the food culture of people here,” he says. “The vegetables in our store are reasonably priced.”

Hailing from a small village near the Sathyamangalam forest in Tamil Nadu, Jayaram had a passion for farming from a young age. He is a practising lawyer who turned to organic farming 20 years ago. It had been his dream for many years to set up a one-stop shop for organic products. “It has been a tough journey,” he says.

“I had to pledge my house and borrow Rs 4 crore to set this up.”

The detox café at Greenpath has become a favourite haunt of artists, writers and intellectuals. The café offers a wide variety of healthy cookies, smoothies and snacks, medicinal teas and probiotic drinks; the wheatgrass juice is a favourite. “We use freshly picked wheatgrass and herbs grown in-house for the different types of juice and tea,” says Jayaram. “We have a terrace garden where we grow thyme, parsley, rosemary, coriander and a lot of green, leafy vegetables.”

One of the signature dishes of the cafe is the organic pizza made with millet flour. “We have given a healthy twist to the pizza by adding a lot of organic vegetables, most of which are from our terrace garden and our farm in Nelamangala,’’ says Nabhyo, a Japanese chef at the detox café. A medium-sized pizza costs just Rs 350. Nabhyo offers me a slice of freshly baked, thin-crust fruit and nut pizza. It must be the healthiest pizza I have had in my life and it tastes as good as a pizza made with maida or atta base.

The brownies, too, are addictive. “These brownies are made out of cocoa, jaggery, millets and wheat,” says Jayaram. “We make our own cocoa powder. We don’t use sugar, heavy oils, maida, polished rice, Ajinomoto, colouring agents or preservatives.” Even the cookies and bread in the café are made out of millets.

Greenpath is designed in a beautiful and eco-friendly fashion. The woodwork in the detox cafe, including the railings and doors, as well as the tables, is made of waste wood. An advocate of sustainable living, Jayaram has solar-powered lamps and water coolants installed here. “We have a lot of indoor plants so the air quality is pretty good,’’ he says.

The organic Valentine’s Day special dinner buffet attracted couples from all over the city. “We conduct a lot of workshops on healthy living,” says Jayaram. “Our workshops on mindful eating and detox food received an overwhelming response from health and fitness enthusiasts.” Already, Greenpath has become one of the most happening places in the city.