From viral green juices and homemade breads to internet-famous salads, clean eating is on the radar for us all. The pandemic and lockdown did bring out the chef in most of us, but in turn, also made us realise the importance of healthy eating, and eating local. India's outdoor farm-to-fork experiences bring the freshness of fields, orchards, and artisanal foods directly to your table. Chefs use farm fresh produce harvested on the property, and prepare simple, contemporary dishes that are complex, yet traditional, for guests to savour onsite. These special experiences not only deliver amazing meals in gorgeous settings, but also provides an insight into the transparent supply chains.
Knowing what we eat matters—not only for the sake of nourishing our bodies, but as mindful consumers caring for animals and the planet. Farm-to-table or farm-to-fork dining experiences allow us to learn about the food we eat while engaging with chefs and the community. They also encourage us to slow down and savour every bite, a practice we can implement daily. So whether it’s date night, a celebration, or to simply indulge in farm-fresh food, here are our top picks for sustainable, farm-to-fork dining experiences across India
The Table, Colaba, Mumbai and The Table Farm, Alibaug
Image courtesy: @thetable_colaba / Instagram
When The Table first opened in 2011, menus around seasonal produce and small plates were a foreign concept. The Table is one of Mumbai’s first restaurants to conceptualise and execute the 'Farm to Table' philosophy; The Table Farm was later initiated in 2012 in Sasawne, Alibag at the home of owners Jay Yousuf and Gauri Devidayal. The vision for the farm was to source the freshest and highest quality ingredients, and to provide The Table with as much seasonal produce as possible. The Farm in Alibaug was started with the assistance of Adrienne Thadani of Fresh & Local, and Thrive Garden Design Studio which specialises in Urban Farming. Thadani has worked closely with the owner and chefs of The Table to efficiently plan the farming and harvesting of various vegetables and herbs, including heirloom tomatoes, root vegetables, microgreens, leafy greens, lettuces, edible flowers, fruits etc. The journey from The Table Farm to the restaurant is approximately one hour door-to-door, ensuring maximum freshness from the time of harvesting to supplying the restaurant.
One can also attend workshops at the farm that take you through cultivation methods, pest management, and day-to-day practices needed for an intensive vegetable garden, and THE long-term benefits of going the organic way. Starting with a tour of the farm, guests dive into harvesting a variety of produce for the chefs to begin preparing a healthy and delicious lunch. Guests then move onto the second phase of the workshop which involves soil mixing, and seed transplanting. Covering the basics of small-scale urban farming, the workshop concludes with an understanding of the various aspects of the farm-to-table concept, ending with a farm-themed art activity.
Must Try: Taglierini Pasta, Zucchini Spaghetti, Asparagus Risotto, Crab Cakes, Truffle Fries, and Avocado Toast
Saltt at Oleander Farms, Karjat
Image courtesy: @salttkarjat / Instagram
Tucked away on a 170-acre parcel of land just as you enter Karjat, Saltt sits on the family-owned Oleander farms. In a gorgeous setting surrounded by hills, streams, and lakes, the meals at Saltt are prepared using local and fresh ingredients from Oleander Farm, and some from neighbouring farms, giving you the whole farm to fork experience. The menu includes different cuisines from around the globe, every preparation that comes out of the kitchen makes a statement of modern simplicity and creative presentation. At the Coffee House, one can also relax and enjoy a warm cup of coffee with snacks, and freshly baked bread served with homemade dips and sauces.
Must Try: Wood fired Pizzas, Malai Broccoli, Kesari Dahi ke Kebab, and Mac & Cheese Arancini
The Farm Chennai
Image courtesy: @thefarmchennai / Instagram
Imagine a farm with cows, buffaloes, chickens, goats, and horses. A farm with organic vegetable gardens, rice fields, coconut groves, and plantations. The Farm Chennai is a working farm located within a city. In the midst of this working farm, they have a Restaurant and a Farm Shop. The integration of hospitality allows them to offer guests a slice of simple, rustic living—an experience of life on the udder side, as they like to call it! The menu is hearty, wholesome, and eclectic—a reflection of their love for simple, fresh, and local produce. The chefs at The Farm Chennai make their own ketchup, pickles, mayonnaise, pizza sauce, bread, Indian sweets, nut butters, granola, and even cheese! This ensures chemical-free food which is not made in a factory, making it 'real food'. Being located close to a coastline dotted with numerous fishing villages, they source seafood off smaller boats, ensuring a fresh and sustainable catch. They also house an independent store where they retail all their fresh produce. Fresh veggies just in from the fields, fruits, a range of dairy produce, bakery goodies baked in wood-fired ovens, and an ever-expanding list of pickles, jams and preserves, condiments, oils, and more.
Must Try: Wood fired thin crust pizzas, fresh fruit juices, homemade oatmeal and granola, grilled meat, gourmet cheese toasts, freshly baked sourdough bread, and homemade butter
Cafe White Sage, Jaipur
Image courtesy: @whitesage.in / Instagram
Located in Jaipur’s popular Civil Lines area, Café White Sage is testimony to how we can make a positive impact on the environment. The café follows the sustainable, mindful method of preparing its unique contemporary dishes, and gives you the chance to feed your soul as much as your appetite. Every item on the menu is curated with the freshest of fresh ingredients sourced from the farms nearby. Sustainable bartending is also at the heart of the beverage menu—their sustainable policy makes sure there is as little waste as possible. They use fruit peels and leaves as garnish to make the items look as aesthetically pleasing as they are delicious. The café also ensures that the décor and atmosphere also bear a kind attitude towards Mother Earth. The place-mats are made from vegan leather, the coffee is Fairtrade, even the on-sale art is sourced from city galleries that adorns its walls adheres to this idea.
Must Try: Burrata Salads, Ramen, Zero Proof Cocktails, Waffles, and Sushi
Kitchen Garden by Suzette, Mumbai
Image courtesy: @kitchengardenbysuzette / Instagram
Jérémie Sabbagh and Antonia Achache, started the restaurant with the idea of offering city dwellers a restaurant that only serves organic and local food, providing them access to healthier meals. Kitchen Garden is an organic cafe that aims to make organic food easily available, featuring a big salad and sandwich bar alongside a grab-and-go section. With a huge focus on organic and local food, Kitchen Garden gets all its dry products like teas, coffee, and spices from local organic suppliers within India. This organic café has a strict farm–to-table policy; the fresh produce is pesticide-free and sourced locally.
Must Try: Brioche Sandwiches, Buckwheat Pancakes, Cold brews, DIY salad bar, and apple raspberry crumble
The Prodigal Farms, Noida
Image courtesy: @theprodigalfarms / Instagram
The Prodigal Farms is an urban experiential farm project with an aim to bring people closer to the source of real food—by growing seasonal local produce. The Prodigal Farm grow their fruits and vegetables through natural farming and permaculture practices, process artisanal food products, teach farming as a life skill to the next generation of leaders, serve farm-to-fork menus, and curate sustainable zero-waste farm experiences, workshops, and training programmes. Tucked away in the heart of Noida, this is an ideal location for brunches, corporate events, birthday celebrations, anniversaries, or family reunions. One can also enjoy an organic feast or brunch in a quaint farm setting, or practice Yoga asanas followed by a wholesome morning breakfast!
Must Try: Organic beverages, salads, banana and sweet-potato muffins, makki ki roti, and saag, veggie burgers