On the drive back home from the Trikaya farm in Talegaon, I felt deprived. Of fruit and vegetables. Not that I live in a desert. Like most people living in the city, I buy my vegetables from the local supermarkets and vegetable markets. Most times, I come home happy, thinking I have bought fresh produce. Other times, I know I am making a compromise; especially on exotics like herbs and fruits, knowing fully well that they’ve been sitting in commercial refrigerators for several hours before landing up in my shopping cart. It’s a price I am usually willing to pay.

On Samar Gupta’s idyllic farm in Talegaon, I realized what a bloody illusion I’m living in. I have been buying near-dehydrated, brown-stalked, thyme and inhaling its aromas as it roasts with my tomatoes, convincing myself that life is at its best. I have been buying brown-edged iceberg lettuce and dunking it in iced water to crisp it up. And I have been looking at those large packets of cellophane-wrapped dragon fruit with one eyebrow up, just happy that I now have access to exotic fruit from countries I have never seen. Hmph.

Minutes after our group of foodies reached the farm, Samar tore us away from admiring the tablefuls of freshly harvested produce to touring the farm. Whatever I say in order to describe the farm is going to be insufficient to convey to you, dear reader, what a treat it was. I hope my pictures do some justice in showing you a glimpse of the wonderful produce that one of India’s best exotic produce suppliers has on offer.

Great respect going out to Samar Gupta, who’s evidently so passionate about what he does, that his eyes sparkle as he talks about it. He educates you and makes you fall in love with his vegetables and fruits. He has a team of committed gentlemen who do the rounds of the 25-acre property several times a day and experiment with dehydration and preservation techniques. He’ll sit you down to a good meal, allow you to fiddle in his kitchen with his gorgeous vegetable gold, and offer you a nice pot of freshly brewed coffee at the end of it all. He’ll pack you off with goodies, and if you’re like me, you’ll wonder why you don’t live on the farm. And for several days after the trip, you’ll look at your supermarket’s veggie section with utter disdain, absolutely uninspired to cook.

Having said that, I shall return to my dreamy sighs and leave you with pictures to drool over. Thank you, Rushina, for inviting me to this trip.

Dehydrated Karambola (Star fruit); highly addictive!
Spoon tomatoes–the cutest things I’ve seen!
Palm heart–excellent for stir fries and soups.
Kumquats–citrus gorgeousness
Black cherry tomatoes
Snow peas
Pink dragon fruit
Starfruit/Karambola–so sweet and juicy, nothing like the stuff you get outside schools!
Red raddish
Thyme with plump, healthy stalks!
Dehydrated starfruit (karambola)–chewy and pretty
Fragrant orange mint
An array of herbs and greens
A variety of mulberry that looks like a caterpillar but is tastier than the regular mulberries when ripe.
Mulberries beginning to ripen
Kumquats again
Blushing pink pomello
Raw jackfruit
Baby lettuce plants
Babies in the making!
Baby lettuce ready to be transferred
Easily my favorite part of the nursery
More orchids
Support equipment
Orchids like a polka dotted summer dress
And more orchids!
Yellow dragon fruit–smaller but juicier!
Giant, fleshy, custard apple
Ginger torch
Sweet tamarind
Harvested pink dragon fruit–could be white or pink on the inside!
Bhut jolakia–the spiciest chili in the world!
The man–Samar Gupta
Rushina stir-frying greens for lunch!
Chorizo bread made by Rushina and her husband.
Stir-fried freshly harvested greens
Nikhil‘s zesty salad with candied orange peels, candied nuts, and lettuce from the farm.
Rushina‘s comforting, refresing fragrant soup with lemon grass, kaffir lime and galangal from the farm.
My slow roasted tomatoes with freshly picked thyme added on the farm.
Harini‘s freshly baked bread–so fresh, it was still warm when we reached the farm, a good two hours away!
Harini‘s creamy cashewnut and parsley dip
Freshly picked and stir-fried edamame