Recently I crawled out of a law firm’s ivory tower and into being counsel for an agri company. FarmLink aims to bring together a network of supplier farms whose farmers will benefit from its expertise in organic and more productive growth practices. Eventually, transparent prices, farmers with better seeds and knowledge and an efficient delivery system will all come together to supply Bombay better produce. In my first month, my boss insisted the new joinees do a plant visit. I did not expect an incredible drive through gorgeous, rain soaked Maharashtra. We drove for hours, through clouds so low they seemed to burst around the car.
One morning we had the chance to speak with local organic farmers in the region and hear, first hand, the tragi-comedy that is agriculture in India. Stories that spoke simultaneously of bounty and scarcity, beauty, poverty, wisdom and superstitions. The clouds cleared as we ended our meeting and sat for lunch at Apulki.
The meal began with Paya, a rich, oily delicate goat marrow soup, popular with farmers as a protein shot. Mains brought out Bhakri, (made of freshly crushed millet) with a pat of ghee and spicy, thick Gawti (free range) Chicken Curry. The wild chicken chopped into the intense onion masala are so lean and have a depth of flavour that could pass off as red meat. The flesh is delicate but a deep pink – no steroids or antibiotics here. They also still have Thumbs Up.
This meal and this day were defining memories for me. I’ve remembered Apulki more fondly than I have most hotels I’ve booked months in advance. I tried to write them a good review too but they’re not anywhere on the internet. Life is funny that way. Maybe some places are too real for the internet.