Nallakeerai’s organic greens now come in ready-to-cook format: they are cleaned, sorted, and delivered packed in banana leaves
For the past three months during lockdown, a small group of women in the village of Pakkam near Chennai, have been starting their day cleaning greens. The leaves, then wrapped in banana leaves, journey to the city to sit in the shelves of organic stores. “Customers simply have to wash the greens and start cooking,” says R Jaganathan of Nallakeerai, who started this initiative. “The women of Pakkam — around 10 of them — visit our facility between 6 am and 6 pm as per their convenience to clean the greens,” he explains.
His team has been experimenting with the idea for the past six months, and has implemented it during the lockdown. “We’ve tried wrapping our greens in mantharai leaves, apart from biodegradable bags,” points out Jaganathan. “But ultimately, we realised that even such so-called biodegradable material have some amount of plastic in them.”
The team finally zeroed in on the good old banana leaf. The cleaned greens are neatly wrapped and carry stick-on labels bearing the name of the varieties. “This arrangement is time saving for the customer,” Jaganathan says. “Any variety of greens takes around half-an-hour to clean. For some, such as aria keerai and mulai keerai especially, it can get tedious to separate individual leaves, unlike say, palak that has large leaves.” The best thing is, the banana leaf can be used to serve the day’s breakfast on. “This way, we also save on water by avoiding doing some extra dishes,” he adds.
Nallakeerai’s greens are now available at SunnyBee outlets, Dhanyam stores, and are also being delivered along with A2 milk.