How New-Age Indian Farmers Are Serving Organic Farm-To-Table Experiences

New-age farmers are not just producing the finest quality crops but are also making farm-to-table experiences more common.

Published On Jan 25, 2023 | Updated On Mar 07, 2024


“Do you see these pipes? They irrigate the crop by drip method saving almost 60% of water vis a vis traditional method. They use only two litres of water per hour and fulfil the plant’s need without wasting a drop, and that makes a lot of difference in a water-scarce region like Rajasthan.”

I am standing in the middle of Rajasthan’s driest belt in Jodhpur, listening to Rajnush Agarwal talk about farming and irrigation methods at his family farm, MharoKhet. Agarwal was not always a farmer; however, he had a keen interest in food and, by extension, in what goes on his plate. He turned to farming during the pandemic and hasn’t looked back since.


Until just a decade ago, farming was not seen as an option for the young, educated or well-to-do in India. In the past few years, however, many young educated farmers have not just taken to farming but also made it fashionable. Organic, pesticide-free, exotic and indigenous crops are in great demand in the metros and these farmers largely cater to the segment. There is also a rising demand in smaller centres for a similar ecosystem that brings quality organic, seasonal and exotic vegetables. Farmers like Agarwal are catering to that as well.

Incidentally, it was the quality of produce — or the lack of it — that had led Agarwal to venture into farming. “In all my travels, I noticed the excellent quality of produce available around the world. I wondered why can’t we have such vegetables in India?” he recalls. And so, he started working towards growing newer crops at the family farm a few years ago. By 2020, with more time in hand due to the lockdown, he was completely involved in it.

Today he grows over 80 varieties of crops including strawberries, mushrooms, peppers, jalapeños, bok choy, and even edible flowers which are unheard of in the desert. The local consumers love his produce and many local restaurants and hotels source their fresh vegetables and herbs from him.


Whether it is using natural fertilisers and insecticides or setting up systems like green houses, sustainable farming methods are at the forefront of new-age farming — be it in Rajasthan or Himachal Pradesh.

Upasana Prakash, who works with her father-in-law on their family farm in Himachal Pradesh, says, “We actively use permaculture principles like rainwater harvesting; creating biodiversity within the farm; and aquaponics, where water from our fish pond, rich in natural nutrients, is added to the fields. These practices are eco-friendly and chemical-free.”

They produce a variety of crops including tea, oilseeds, seasonal and exotic vegetables, herbs, wheat, and fruits like peach and apricot. “Sustainability is the backbone of our operations and we extend it to our properties and restaurants too,” adds Prakash, who also looks after two family-run homestays, The Lodge at Wah and Kandbari, where most of the produce is utilised.

In Jodhpur, the 40-acre MharoKhet is divided into smaller patches that grow multiple crops depending on the season. No chemical fertilisers have been used on the farm since 2010. “We make our own bio-pesticides, bio-fertilisers and compost,” informs Agarwal, who uses cow urine, asafoetida, chilli, turmeric, garlic, and fermented buttermilk to make bio-pesticides.

Agarwal has also invested in technology that enables him to determine soil health, control temperature and humidity, and record data that predict the output. “The measures help improve yield and enhance the quality and nutrition of the produce,” he adds.

With travellers and diners constantly looking for new experiences, these new-age farms have also emerged as travel and culinary destinations. Farm tours, farm-to-table meals, even farm stays have started gaining popularity.


At MharoKhet, we spend hours looking at various crops, understanding their nutritional and climatic needs and interacting with the staff before sitting down for a well-deserved lunch. The seven-course tasting menu is cooked exclusively with in-house produce and presents local offerings with a fun twist like stuffed bati, jalapeño with shengdana chutney, kadhi-kachori, and hulled sweet wheat porridge.

“We want people to understand the hard work that goes into farming and appreciate the importance of fresh produce. The farm tour gives them a glimpse of that. Meanwhile, the meal showcases the versatility of the produce,” explains Agarwal, as we partake in the meal.


The Lodge at Wah offers similar experiences where guests can not only learn about farming but also harvest vegetables and request the chef to create a dish exclusively for them. “We take measures to grow what we can use for our menus, and also use what we grow for the season,” says Prakash, whose menu varies through the year based on seasons.

The growing interest in maintaining a healthier lifestyle and adoption of plant-based diets continues to push the demand for fresh, clean produce. Thanks to modern farming techniques and the new-age farmer, meeting this demand should not be difficult in the coming years. 

Photo: Mharo Khet; Lodge at Wah