Working towards sustainability and reducing waste
Running a farm to table café for the past year, has been one of the most gratifyingly challenging jobs I’ve ever had. The most distinguishing feature of SAGE Farm Café is that we let nature guide our procurement as well as our menu. Owning the produce we work with, has been both a boon and a bane. On one hand, I enjoy the experience of working with the SAFEST and FRESHEST produce available in the city. This is the one thing every guest eating at the café, health food junkie or not, agrees on too. On the other hand, as a producer, it is crushing to realise that the café with its niche clientele, cannot possibly use up ALL of that lovely produce we are growing. Added to this, is the pressure that a super successful dish on the menu, cannot be sustained beyond its natural season.
Over the last year, we’ve been working to extend the life of our produce by engaging in age old processes of pickling, making preserves, freezing it all. These processes have helped elevate some very basic produce to legendary status. If you’ve eaten at the café, you have likely enjoyed the Brinjal pickle which was a recipe we created to use up the excess produce from the farm. This pickle now, has become THE MOST popular pickle sold at SAGE Farm Café. I feel grateful that brinjal in some form of the other is available all year long because this humble vegetable has definitely become a signature dish at the café.
As exciting as pickling and making preserves can be, one thing that has fundamentally changed the way we can preserve our produce is our Solar Drying oven. This oven was built for our needs by SEED, an NGO creating awareness about the environment and energy issues and creating devices to enhance the quality of life. This oven can handle up to 200 kgs of produce at a time. The dryer, with its glass cabinets allows for SAFE, HYGIENIC and DUST FREE drying of produce. Drying in this manner not only extends the shelf life of our beautiful produce but also retains the nutrient value of the produce.
Over the coming months, this solar dryer will allow us to add a range of dried fruits for snack, vegetables for chips and also naturally processed flour. We look forward to all the learnings and beautiful produce we can create on this.