When I decided to start Kiraana, I knew I had to go to the source of where all these beautiful spices were grown, to know and learn a bit more about these flavour gems. My husband and I went to India during Diwali in 2019, where our first stop was my childhood home in Lucknow. We hung out with our family, celebrated Diwali & then I made my way to Goa to visit this beautiful spice farm 2 hrs from Goa airport.
Tanshikar spice farm is situated among the rainforest of Western Ghats at Netravalli VIllage. 25 acres of land is dedicated to growing organic spices by the 6th generation farmers, husband & wife, Chinmay & Gauri.
They live on this farm with their mother, kids, few pets and workers. They both are dedicated to this land and its bounty, one can tell they are passionate about what they do and treat every living creature with respect.
I stayed in an Eco cottage, where all the materials used for building the house were made from natural materials. The water system put in place was made so unused water can go back into irrigating farms & nothing goes to waste. They truly used ingenious ways to create a cottage that was in harmony with its surroundings. They prepared their meals from fruits, veggies, spices grown there and let me tell you everything was just out of the world!
On day 2 Chinmay took us around showing their farm and different produce. We saw peppers still hanging on the tree ready to be harvested, cacao plants, cashew trees, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric you name it.
Along the way chinmay gave us a little narration about the life cycle of each plants, how the taste profile of spices changes as they mature, little bursts of knowledge on how spices in small amounts transforms dishes but you go overboard and it diminishes all benefits.
Chinmay makes their honey from native honey bees & grew their own mushrooms.
Towards the end of the tour chinmay gave us a little tour of their own home which was 300 years old, and since it was made of mud it created perfect conditions to regulate any kind of outside temperatures. He showed us the benefit of mud floors by dropping a glass bottle which instead of cracking just bounced & he said the best part of having floor like this was you don't need much to fix it, just dig it and pat it down again and it's new!
When I was there a cyclone was imminent and so many bookings got cancelled. I was the only tourist who stayed the night in the entire farm. Chinmay said this cyclone was so unexpected because they had just finished with the monsoon season. He emphasised that climate change is a real issue for spice farms like his and his village. As someone who comes from family of farmers I can empathise with his situation. In cities we see supermarket shelves always brimming with products so we forget that the raw material for everything we see on shelves comes from earth. Its our duty as children of earth to protect it and everything it provides us for sustenance. Farms like chinmay's brings you face to face with the reality of how much more we need to do to fix our current issues.