While I was shopping in the Potts Point Woolworths the other day I noticed packets of curry leaves for sale in the Asian vegetable section. I haven't needed to buy curry leaves for more than 3 years. My balcony curry leaf tree provides an abundant supply. In fact I regularly trim off a few branches and give them to my friend Kham who runs the Arun Thai restaurant across the road.
The potted Curry Leaf Tree is thriving in its semi-shady position. I water it twice a week and fertilise it with a seaweed tea once every couple of months. Apart from the occasional caterpillar attack and mealy bug colony its seems to be fighting fit.
It produces these wonderfully glossy, fragrant, quite pungent leaves that I use to make curries, dhals and saffron rice. They are used similarly to bay leaves.
Our tree produces so many leaves I even sometimes think of it as a slight annoyance.
Not any more.
The Woolworth packets of curry leaves were selling for $2 for a folded stem of about 30 leaves!
I rushed back up to our apartment to do a rough calculation of how many stems there were on my curry leaf tree and counted about 500 stems.
At $2 a stem my curry leaf tree is worth at least $1000!!!!! And with a new stem emerging each day it's a veritable licence to print money.
And what's more because I don't use any pesticides or chemicals I bet they taste better than the woolies ones do.
I know most food gardeners grow their own food for the superior taste and flavour but it's good to be reminded of how much money we are also saving in the process - or how much money we could make.
... I can picture the shingle above my shop door now..." Indira Naidoo - Providore of Exotic Leaves."