Authored by jaya16

I had always thought grass is grass, what more can there be to it? Then I had an eye opener, or rather a new perspective on grass, when I visited the cheese factory at Gruyere in Switzerland. They have some of the most tasty cheese and we got to see the cheese making process, which requires skill and time.

What struck me most though was what I learnt about the cows from whom the factory gets the milk. Apparently they eat 100 kgs of grass, drink 85 litres of water and yield about 25 litres of milk a day. Even more interesting than these statistics is what I learnt about the grass they eat. Though all the grass that they graze upon looks the same to an untrained human eye, there are multiple varieties of grass growing there which these cows consume.  Thyme, lavender, sage, vanilla, rosemary, etc. And the kind of grass they consume is what gives the unique taste and smell to the milk and hence the cheese. They need to graze on the fresh grass for this quality, hence the milk tastes different when they have to eat hay in winter. It was such an interesting fact about which I had no clue until then.

That got me thinking about the varieties of grass in India. Bermuda grass (also known as Durva grass) that grows plentifully in India has medicinal values and is rich in vitamins and minerals. It is considered one of the most important holy herbs in Hinduism. I distinctly remember my grandfather teaching me how to identify and pluck this grass for various purposes. Bermuda grass juice is now used widely as a health food due to its ability to remove toxins from the body as well as other health benefits.

I am sure if I start to research various kinds of grass, I will come up with more types, their uses, and the seasons that they grow in. For now, I am going to enjoy the yummy Gruyere cheese which gets its flavours from multiple varieties of fresh grass, and also a glass of Bermuda grass juice to get healthier.

We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland.  If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/