Two weeks into the lockdown I was looking around for a reliable produce delivery service. Sure, one of the larger supermarket chains was delivering but judging by the comments I read online, it was pretty hard to get a delivery slot with them. And this was before some of the other chains started their delivery programs. I stumbled across Kathmandu Organics by accident but when I asked around, a few friends said they had used them pre-lockdown and found them pretty good. Sorted!
So far I have had three deliveries of organic vegetables, fruits, and some other hard-to-get things such as flaxseed oil, Moringa powder, chuk amilo, and real strawberry jam. More recently Kathmandu Organics have gone into cooperation with Bro Bakery so have added croissants and multigrain bread to their product list. And did I mention they also sell Himalayan cow and yak cheese? And of course a great selection of rice, pulses, seeds and nuts from around the country. So impressed have I been with their organic-based product list and quick services I decided to find out a bit more.
Kathmandu Organics was established by Bhuwan and Nisha KC in early 2017 as a trendsetting online food store. Providing a marketplace for local, organic, and handmade products from Nepal, they collaborate with cooperatives, farmers, and entrepreneurs in 30 districts to create a sustainable value-change for their products. So successful is their online store that in February 2020 they opened a shop in front of the Police Headquarters in Naxal.
Naturally, when lockdown came into force Kathmandu Organics was well placed with its online system to start delivering. “We stared delivering from the third day of the lockdown,” says Bhuwan, “but it wasn’t easy.” Between the opening of their shop in February and the lockdown they were selling fresh vegetables on a trial basis. With the lockdown came unprecedented demand for these fresh, organic veggies. “Lockdown has been a learning curve. Perishable items were new for us but now we understand these items and our preparation system is much better than it was a few weeks ago,” says Bhuwan. New items added since the lockdown have been bakery items, and herbs and plants. And the list keeps growing.
What I like most are the apples from different mountain districts, always a bit tricky to get at the best of times. Beetroot and carrots are another favorite of mine! Along with their range of dried items—dal, rice, pulses, millet etc, there is Himalayan pink salt, different types of honey, including Cliff Honey (which they also export to Dubai), homemade achaars, ghee, Rainbow Trout, free range (frozen) chicken, and the basic vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, onions, and so on.
You just have to take a look at their list of products! Naturally the list changes week by week since it is now harder to get products from further afield, but they also work with farmers around the Kathmandu Valley, so there is always something fresh in stock. I asked what was the most popular item and was told Ilam cow ghee, which is from their own dairy in Illam. Also very popular, particularly at the moment, is homemade frozen momos made from atta flour with a special recipe of Nepali spice.
Do remember that organic fruit and vegetables may not have the glossy, symmetrical appearance of non-organic produce. But neither do they have the chemicals that keep those apples rosy looking for weeks. In actual fact, now in supermarkets in the UK they offer a range of ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables. These fruits and veggies are normally tossed aside because they don’t conform to our standards of beauty. The ‘wonky’ (and yes they are given that name) produce looks exactly as fruit and vegetables looked when I was young, and how it looks coming from Nepali farms. And if you find an insect or two in your Nepali produce, its proof it really is organic.
Visit the Kathmandu Organic website at https://www.kathmanduorganics.com/ to see what is available. For prompt services, order on Messenger. Deliveries 24 to 48 hours later.