Though our week-long trip to Sikkim in North Eastern India was unique in many ways, what stuck me most was the organic vegetables and fruits produced in the state.
Sikkim, which was until 1975 an independent nation, will soon be declared a 100 per cent organic state and the use of chemical fertiliser and other add-ons in all forms banned. There is already a lot of awareness against their use and, if local people are to be believed, no one uses any chemicals anyway.
No wonder, then, freshly cooked vegetables are just different. They have a very soft and mellow taste and one where we can actually “feel” the flavours. It is a lot different from the plains where practically every vegetable and fruit available is laced with chemical fertilisers and preservatives.
Perhaps the rest of India will take cue from this little place tucked away on the border with Nepal and Bhutan, and as yet largely unspoilt by the huge influx of tourists.
And, while I am in the “organic” mode, I must point out I was very impressed with the extremely large ferns growing in the wild all over the state. No wonder then that these ferns are also a delicacy, expertly cooked as a vegetable by the locals.