Rosa Basanti’s voice is bright and happy, almost always on the verge of laughter. A trained documentary filmmaker, Rosa started working in the field of education with unions, working developing tools to understand labour law. Now, she’s a freelance researcher in the field of labour rights. It’s a pleasure speaking to this 39-year-old mother of two who lives with her family in Noida about how she went organic.
How did you begin your organic journey?
I was pregnant with my second child. At the time, I became very conscious of organic options in the market, and being more conscious of what went into our bodies. The problem was, the organic sector is rife with racketeering and false info. So I wanted to be really careful about where I shopped. Some friends of mine who ran an organic grocery store shared had flyers for I Say Organic, and I’ve been with you guys ever since!
How has your experience been?
It’s been great. When I started ordering from I Say Organic, you didn’t deliver in Noida (where I live). So I would get you to deliver to mum’s place in Delhi, and then pick it up from there! I converted her to eating organic too so she was fine with it! (laughs) My sister also buys produce from you now, as do a few friends.
What about your own family? What do they think of I Say Organic’s produce?
I think my family likes it very much. Fruits, veggies, greens – we order a lot of stuff from you regularly and the convenience makes it amazing! My little one who’s two eats papaya for breakfast every day and enjoys vegetable juices too. We’re all quite okay eating and drinking healthily, thanks to I Say Organic.
How would you describe the taste of I Say Organic produce?
I’d say the taste is substantially different and superior as is the quality. When I bite into a tomato now, I taste its true flavour. Vegetables like ghia or tori, which need very little cooking or sautéing taste so much better. These veggies are grown free of pesticides and chemicals and thus their natural flavour comes out and we can enjoy them. I also like that your produce is natural and moderately sized – I am very suspicious of produce that is too big.
What have been your standout experiences in terms of taste?
I love your mustard seed oil, rajma and brown rice. They are exceptional! We make chhoka at home, just simple boiled potato curry that calls for raw mustard oil – and your oil elevates the taste of this recipe! I enjoy eating salads and greens; we have the confidence to eat raw foods now!
What else do you order from I Say Organic?
I order a lot of fruits. I really enjoyed the red grapes and papayas; I’ve also bought avocados this time and we’ve made pastes of them and used them in yummy sandwiches. We also order a lot of mangoes during mango season.
Have you noticed any changes in how you eat?
We’ve started eating predominantly seasonal veggies now – which I’m really glad about. We’re also eating raw food more frequently, which is good because it’s easily digested and is better for you. I’ve also started substituting water veggies like zucchini for ghia so we get a wider range of things to eat. We have a lot of salads and veggie juices (red or green, depending on season.) The quality of our food has improved tremendously.
What kind of food do you make?
We vary the recipes and food a lot. I didn’t want my kids introduced to different cuisines only outside the house. We have Indian food at lunch and vary Chinese, pizzas, baked veggies, grills, Italian and more at night. In fact, people are always surprised that my daughter and son love broccoli soup. I always order broccoli from you guys – its tasty, its healthy – they have that and toast for dinner.
What do you think of the range of produce?
I really like that you offer exotic veggies like pok choi, mushrooms and zucchini. This helps us make more than just Indian food, which means the kids are interested in eating many cuisines and veggies. I love my greens sautéed and also love your kale as well as the sheer variety of lettuce. I also adored your juice packs – they were really nice!
Have you noticed any improvements in health?
Yes! I think our immunity is much better now. My husband has a tendency to catch colds, but hasn’t really caught one since we switched. My children never had allergies or colic, are fairly energetic and I feel eating organic strengthens their immune systems. When I was pregnant and after giving birth, I felt that I Say Organic helped me follow my special diets diligently. I was 37 when I gave birth the second time and I feel my recovery the second time was much better. Despite being older than the first time, I never felt like I had low energy.
There is a perception that organic food is more expensive. Could you comment?
It might be slightly expensive but one must balance that against staying healthy. Cost has never been a concern for me. People spend Rs 10,000 on a single meal – I have never had second thoughts about spending on healthy daily meals for my family.
This has been great. Do you have any suggestions or advice for us?
I really think you should put up displays at workplaces. I’ve already suggested that you do it at my husband’s workplace; have a small presentation, talk about the benefits and spread the word. Point out the convenience you offer and maybe even do a tiny sale there. It would be great!