LAHORE: Creating awareness about the benefits of organic food is only one of the many aspects of Khalis Food Market. With products featuring fruits grown in Gilgit-Baltistan to unprocessed honey collected from beehives in forests in the south of Pakistan, the market has also become a platform for small-scale local ventures to market healthy food products grown in Pakistan.
Hundreds thronged the 7th Khalis Food Market at the Greens Lawn on MM Alam Road on Sunday.
As many as 65 stalls featuring organic vegetables and chicken; fresh burgers, steaks, local delicacies and pizzas prepared on the spot; organic coffee; organic fish, shrimps and prawns; chillers and desserts; organic cottage cheese, gouda and ricotta; organic honey; pickles’ unprocessed buffalo milk; traditional crafts; vegetable seeds; and decorative items, bags and embroideries were set up.
Asma Shah, co-founder of Khalis Food Market, said, “All the vegetables sold here have been grown using clean water without any pesticides. The use of organic food lowers the risk of cancer, liver and heart problems in people and contributes towards mitigating environmental issues.”
Ganache, a stall selling desserts, was among the most popular ones. They served chocolate fudge cake, bread and butter pudding, Cadbury cupcake, butterscotch cupcake, walnut brownie and honey chocolate brownie.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, actor Usman Peerzada said, “I am not a huge fan of desserts but the chocolate fudge cake here is very delicious… I also enjoyed the chillers and organic coffee at the Coffee Planet stall.”
Motorcyclist Moin Khan appreciated the Khalis Team’s effort in promoting and supporting various social causes at the market. Khan had set up a relief fund for the victims of the Tharparkar drought.
The Coffee Planet stall attracted several families. The coffees and chillers were served without sugar or preservatives.
“The money generated from the sale of organic coffee, chillers and other items at our stall will go to a relief fund for the victims of the Tharparkar drought,” said Coffee Planet CEO Kashif Anwar.
Mahrukh Beg, co-founder of the Khalis Food Market, said she had enjoyed the stalls set up by Coffee Planet, Flora Honey, Organo Botanica and Ganache.
Maliha Salman, one of the visitors, said, “The desserts at the Ganache stall are probably some of the best in town…the chocolates are to die for.”
Speaking about their company, 9 lines, Hassan Iqbal and Saad Shahid said their products were “a roller coaster ride of cool, quirky and yummy fashion”. Several people purchased mobile covers, bags, notebooks, T-shirts from their booth.
Salt Cave Spa Manager Qurratulain said, “Our products are therapeutic…once you are inside salt cave spa you will experience rejuvenation and wellness.”
Junaid Malik, CEO of Raise’d Bar, a nutrition bar made from fruits and nuts sourced from Gilgit-Baltistan said, “We are a social impact orientated enterprise trying to empower local farmers from G-B. The bars are all natural and organic made from 70 per cent dried fruits and nuts.”
Sundas Malik, co-founder of the Khalis Food Market, said they had begun a life-changing trend. “People should switch to organic food because it is healthier.”
“We are planning to open up this market in other cities and start our own outlet and restaurant too,” she said.
Omar Farooq, of O’s Organic Honey, said, “Each drop of the honey we sell is extracted from hives from jungles in the South of Pakistan. The honey is unprocessed and raw. It is best for strengthening the immune system, liver and kidneys and is an excellent substitute for sugar. It’s not recommended for infants under the age of one though.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2014.