Prior to our experience in the spice garden, I wasn’t very excited with the day’s agenda. With no interest in botany or the culinary arts, I didn’t think such a visit suited my tastes. All these doubts were chased away as soon as I stepped foot in the spice garden. We were warmly welcomed by the young but entrepreneurial woman, Ruwandi Perera, whose success with this booming, organic garden, Euphoria Spice and Herbal Garden was commendable.
A hearty, diverse lunch sourced by fresh organic ingredients was a pleasant start to the experience, and reminded me of the vibrant flavours of my own culture. As we made our way through the garden, stopping at different plants, nuts, and spices, my fascination only grew, as I realised that I was looking at the source of the fundamental ingredients that govern our proud, ancient food culture. We saw the likes of nutmeg, the infamous cardamom, and the king and queen of spices: pepper and cardamom.
The most distinctive feature of this spice garden, however, was the care with this tight-knit community dealt with the plants. Their emotional and physical investment in the business was evident in the professional yet delicate way they dealt with the produce, and in Ruwandi’s passionate, determined tone as she spoke to us about her plans to promote organic, local produce. Overall, the whole experience was enjoyable and eye-opening, and I plan to keep a look out for this particular spice garden’s progress.
Written by Afrah Shibu, Qatar Academy