These days, the term 'organic' has taken the urban health conscious populace of Bangladesh by storm. It is suggested that, before effortlessly terming any agricultural product as 'organic', one must also be able to understand and appreciate the effort placed behind the process as it is anything but easy. The expression 'organic' basically refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed in safe soil, without the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilisers or any sort of bio-engineering method.
What's the fuss behind 'organic' you ask? Well, organic foods are definitely fresher in taste, have more beneficial nutrients, are better for consumption for people with food allergies, and most important of all, cause no harm to the physical self.
Based on such wisdom and a wish to establish their dream project, four friends initiated the enterprise 'Dhaka Dough'. Their modest hope was that Bangladesh would not lag behind in appreciating the many benefits of organic produce. At first, Dhaka Dough started small with only few friends procuring from them but it wasn't long before their popularity spiralled via word-of-mouth, and that's when the initiators felt encouraged about a long term plan.
Dhaka Dough's concept is to obtain only Deshi supplies and not rely on imported products, in order to help promote the country's own produce and to emphasise on long term sustainability.
All four initiators of Dhaka Dough are well-established in their own respective fields of work and dedicate any spare time to their dream project. One of the initiators narrated the story behind each of their stored goods.
Honey: It is procured directly from the Sundarbans during the honey hunting season (April to June). This honey is later filtered and poured into wooden containers without any tampering in-between. Dhaka Dough also has an environment friendly return policy for their food grade containers – they are consistently reusable.
Jams and Jellies: Native fruits are mostly organic and formalin free and are used by Dhaka Dough to make spreads, with some fruits used being guavas and starfruits.
Millet, Rice, Flour and Puffed Rice: Millet used to be consumed vastly in the bygone era in this part of the world, but with the era of modernisation, people leaned towards refined rice that doesn't have as much fibre. However the health conscious general population has relearned the benefits of unrefined, manually processed, fibre-rich versions and Dhaka Dough is helping in the revival process.
Edible Oil: In the oil section, Dhaka Dough promotes coconut oil, linseed oil, mustard oil, flaxseed oil etc.
Spices: Turmeric is procured directly from the hill tracts in Bandarban and then grinded manually at Dhaka Dough. The chilli comes from Bogra, and similarly, the coriander and cumin is also acquired from local sources.
Coffee: The one thing Dhaka Dough obtains from abroad is coffee beans, although they only get the Ethiopian variety as it's the birthplace of coffee. The beans are roasted at Dhaka Dough and not available for direct sales. Dhaka Dough will only provide the authentic experience of hand-ground coffee and the rich aroma by serving you a cup!
The future plans of the enterprise include rearing organic livestock, getting produce like milk and eggs, and rooftop vegetable farming. The enterprise encourages its customers to grow vegetables on their rooftop and even sell them via Dhaka Dough. The main idea is to encourage everyone to grow their own fresh vegetables and get into the habit of organic farming. The company representatives assure that it is a healthy and easy practice and can be adopted by anyone who has access to their rooftop. They also suggest that if anybody needs help in training regarding the gardening process they would be more than glad provide assistance.
Anybody who visits the place will feel comfortable at the first glance of the interior, as everything from the sofa and the countertop to the side tables are made from natural materials. Customers, while waiting for their products, can easily order a glass of fresh juice or a cup of coffee. The juice provided will be as fresh as it can get with a touch of flaxseed oil which will help to energise the body for the rest of the day.
Here's to hoping that the modest initiative gets a lot of momentum and helps teach Dhakaites what it means to go back to nature!
Address: House 1/A, Rd 2/A, Baridhara - J block
Facebook: Dhaka Dough
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed