Khalis Food Market, offering organic and home-grown food items, was organised on Sunday at the T Block Park in Gulberg. Around 30 stalls of fresh vegetables, organic chicken, ostrich meat, ostrich oil, hand made soaps, and home made items such as jams, gur, pickles, honey, and ketchup, among other items, had been set up.
Speaking about the advantages of organic food, Khalis Food Market Chief Executive Rizwan Naeem said, “Organic food is the food of our ancestors. We are providing pesticide-free and preservatives-free food to the people of Lahore”. Naeem added that within a month they would begin weekly home delivery of Khalis food products through their website.
Usman Rana, the director of Organix, said he began to grow organic vegetables with the aim of preserving farming methods that guaranteed purity of food. He said the nutrition value of foods was rapidly deteriorating due to synthetic fertilisers, chemical insecticides and genetically modified seeds.
Rana also described organic farming methods. He said his farms used cow dung residue from plants. He said they also made compost out of decomposable green matter. Organix only used canal water for irrigation and a formula prepared from neem and tobacco leaves, ginger and red chillies for insect control.
Raja Umar Sultan, head of operations at the Ostrich Company, told The Express Tribune that ostrich oil was made from the fat of the bird. Sultan added that people used ostrich oil to alleviate skin rashes, and could also be used to treat arthritis, lesions, burns, eczema, dry skin, dry hair and bed sores, among other ailments.
Abdul Rauf, a visitor to the market, said “The ostrich burgers were delicious. Furthermore, ostrich meat is low in cholesterol and calories and high in protein and iron... I strongly recommend it”.
Asif Farooqi, a visitor, said his favourite stall at the market sold ostrich kebabs and burgers. He added that organic food could boost the economy and create new avenues for poverty alleviation.
Binte Andy, another visitor to the market, said, “I am here from Karachi and wished we had such markets”.
Ghar ki Murghi, a stall with preservatives-free, home made food, was very popular at the market. It attracted visitors through both its food and innovative names for its dishes, such as ‘beqaraar bigharay baingan’, ‘toofani tamatar ka kut’, ‘pappu pyaare ka paneer jalfrezi’, ‘awara anaar sharbat’, among others. More than half of the food at ‘Ghar ki Murghi’ was sold in a few hours.
Dr Shahzad Khan said his company had introduced chickens raised organically on plant proteins and a vegetable diet, without any steroids, hormones or antibiotics. He added that organic chicken helped the immune system.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2014.
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