OUR STORY

In 2014, we started Himalayan Haat in our farm kitchen. The idea was to use fresh produce from our farm, supplemented with locally sourced organic produce, to make artisanal seasonal products. We now make a wide range of preserves, sauces, concentrates, vinegar, herbal infusions and teas and herbed salts.

My mother, a retired school teacher with years of old-fashioned cooking behind her, dons the chef's hat. Everything is made by hand in our home kitchen, in small batches of 10 to 15 bottles, and without any additives, colours, chemicals or preservatives.

More importantly, the key vision of Himalayan Haat is to employ, train and help local village women to get financially independent. Garhwal has a huge problem with alcohol and most of our women have alcoholic husbands and ample stories of neglect and hardship.

These ladies are involved in the harvesting, cutting, chopping, canning and packaging of our products. We employ around 10 to 12 women at this point. Our hope is to eventually convert an old shed into a bigger facility + community centre, which will then be able to accommodate many more ladies.

OUR VISION

Himalayan Haat exists for two reasons.

Firstly, to share the wholesome goodness of the mountains with city folk - like you. Our founder, Divya Chowfin returned to her father's farm after 13 years of Delhi life. She knows what she missed in over a decade - eating what she picked from the fields, crisp mountain air and fresh spring water.

She hopes that Himalayan Haat can pass on some of that goodness to you.

Secondly, to help local village women fight poverty and abuse by enabling them to stand on their feet! A staggering high percentage of pahadi village women have alcoholic husbands and little/no means of employment. Stories of hardship, neglect and abuse are commonplace.

Well, we're hoping to change that - one woman at a time.

OUR FARM

Our family farm Marrora (a local name for a place blessed with water) is an 8-hour drive away from Delhi in Pauri Garhwal, Uttarakhand. After 15 years of studying and working in Delhi, I (Divya Chowfin) returned - along with my South African husband, Stephen - to take over and run the farm after my dad in 2015. My father, Ronnie Chowfin, had dedicated his life to farming and forest conservation since the late 1960s. And, as a result of his life work, Stephen, my mother and I have the privilege of looking after a beautiful farm, orchard and forest with rich supplies of spring water that cater to 14 villages in the district.

We follow a "jungle farming" concept on our farm, which is as close to natural farming as can be. We use leaf mould from the forest and cow dung as fertilisers and our fruit trees are planted in between oaks and wild trees. At no stage is any chemical used on our crops or trees. We actually lose a considerable percentage of produce to wild animals (bears love our pears and walnuts while barking deer go after our chillis and tomatoes!) and birds, but we feel privileged to share our living spaces with these creatures.

We grow strawberries, citrus fruit, walnuts, pears, peaches, plums, apricots, herbs like rosemary, chamomile, lemongrass, bay leaf, and seasonal vegetables on the farm.