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Talking to The Northeast Today

Recently we had a chat with The Northeast Today about food, good food, and food making. Here is how it went.

TNT: What are the things people should know before starting a food business?

K: As with all other businesses, you should have a clear idea of what segment of the market you want to cater to. It should also resonate with your strengths – be it your skillset, your network, or access to resources. And most importantly it should be something you are passionate about!

TNT: What are the ingredients required in making natural food products?

K: Interestingly, natural food products are less about what you put in and more about what you leave out. Avoiding artificial additives from food products presents some challenges, like reduced shelf-life, inconsistent appearance and texture, etc.. These challenges can be tackled by being innovative with processes, distribution and marketing. Not surprisingly, many answers can be found in traditional foods and practices of the past when all food were natural. We are also a very young enterprise and continually facing these challenges as an opportunity to be creative!

TNT: What are the health benefits of having local and natural food?

K: With big food companies competing for every corner of the global market on a war footing; their priority is more often than not placed on reducing costs, shelf-life, and instant appeal. The healthfulness of a food product takes a distant back seat. Consuming local and natural food reduces your exposure to carcinogenic additives, refined sugar, and other toxic substances. I would like to stress here that local doesn’t necessarily mean natural. Consumers should always read the ingredients carefully and choose wisely. If consumers start expressing preference for natural products, I believe our local food brands will gear up to provide it more readily.

TNT: What are the benefits of Kombucha?

K: Kombucha is a delicious probiotic beverage made by fermenting brewed red tea. It is a good source of Vitamin C and other antioxidants. It restores gut flora and improves digestive health. It boosts immunity and helps detox your body. And believe me, it just makes you feel good!

TNT: What are the steps involved and how long does it take to make Kombucha?

K: Kombucha starts with a sweetened red tea brew. It is cooled and a kombucha culture is added to it. It is left in a glass or fermentation grade steel container with a tight canvas cover to allow air but keep out flies. Left in an ideal temperature of 24 to 30 degrees celsius, it takes around 10 days to ferment. It can be further infused with fruits and spices for another 1 to 3 days. Our favourite infusion is ginger. Or maybe sumac berries. Hard to decide!

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The Virus and the Club

Thoughts and stories behind Forager’s kombucha Club

It’s been long. I am writing for the first time since a viral infection and the global effort to contain it changed life as we knew it drastically. There has been a range of vantage points for looking at this phenomena; ranging from paranoia, to congratulating the environment, to concern of lapses in government efforts, to calling the global response an opportunist over-reaction, and even to protesting against the whole thing calling it a hoax!

Nonetheless, this emergency got us thinking. Many are concerned about the fragility of our life(style) and how drastically a virus or government decrees can alter our lived reality. It also got people thinking a lot about wellbeing and immunity, how we can strengthen our body and its natural immunity to better guard us from present and new infections. Many became more conscious of the food we eat and strive towards a healthier lifestyle. The lockdown days were spent livening up unused spaces around the house with kitchen gardens. In this, one can see concern for both food integrity and food security. Lockdown has been a serious threat to the livelihood of an already struggling population.

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Our farmhouse nano-brewery tour

Our farmhouse nano-brewery is operational now. We’ve just put in our papers for the license after days of preparing the documents etc.. So you’ll soon see a new address and new license on our bottles. Don’t worry, it’s still us!

We took some pictures the other day and thought we’d share it with you so you can have a peek at our workshop. This is a typical bottling day at Forage Realfood. BTW we bottle twice every week. That way, we are working with small batches which ensures more consistency in maturity every time you open a bottle. Continue reading Our farmhouse nano-brewery tour