Sahakari Spice Farm, Curti – 300-Year-Old Plantation

Sahakari Spice Farm, Curti (Ponda, Goa, India)

Caves – village Curti, Khandepar, Ponda And I am not sure about the name though I visited it once. The next day during the search – Caves within Ponda or somewhat search somehow I found another information i.e., Sahakari Spice Farm, interesting as per someone’s blog. The farm I guessed close to the cave’s location.

Another day – morning hours – motorbike and I am on the way towards Ponda i.e., Belgaum highway. I am re-visiting Curti village to know the name of the caves. A local person on his motorbike very close to the caves was present And the query – Excuse me, What’s the name of the caves i.e., there – I was pointing towards the location.

Pandav Caves – He said they are locally known as Pandav caves.

Thank you – said I And Sahakari Spice Farm?

The direction was shown with narration.

– Thanks again.

Earlier when I visited caves I found no one – it was afternoon hours, most probably. Anyways, U-turn towards Ponda. A few km from the Caves on the left-hand side the entrance board talks about Sahakari Spice Farm. Situated along the National Highway 4A, 2 km from Ponda, 18 km from Margao, And 30 km from Panaji.

– I enter.

Few cars – a few motorcycles parked, and I parked too.

The reception And The Entry

– cost: Rs. 400/person including meal(veg.+ non.veg.)

– Paid

Direction to walk and a guide will assist you inside – said the reception person.

50 meters walk – a colorful garland And tilak(mark on forehead) – a traditional welcome.

White/Red/Orange – The colors of flowers And I inquire.

The reply:

Ananta – The white flower – family of Jasmine

Red one is Hibiscus – Jaswanti – Marathi name.

And the orange one?

Same – Hibiscus. Only the color difference.

A request to have a seat within the restaurant area – choice of the seat as per guest wish. I selected the one that was close to where I standing now. The restaurant is big, having enough dining space for visitors. Cashew-nut And hot tea within the glass – served. The taste – The fragrance – awesome. Spice sure is within – said I.

Yep – said the serving person. Lemon Grass Tea made from Lemon Grass/Cardamom/Ginger

And sugar?

No sugar.

Too good. I requested a little more, please, if possible, And was served. Ahhh – said I – refreshing after a long drive.

Good for cold/cough/migraine – said He.

But for me – Refreshing And another query – Why this drink? Why not any other?

It is a traditional way of welcoming our guests. Once the guest is relaxed a 30-35 minutes tour with the guide.

Ok – said I while sipping a new form of tea.

finally – finish. The guide was waiting – shake hands And walk towards the plantation area.

– 130 acres

– Sahakari Brothers – The owners

– 7th generation looking after the area

– plantation about 300 years old

Harshad – The guide with narration while walking inside the plantation area crossing a small wooden bridge on top of flowing water. The Demo-area is 2 acres for our guests, otherwise, the plantation area is too vast.

Can you guess what plant it is?

NO – said I.

Coffee – The answer.

There are two types of coffee plants. One is robusta And another one is arbista And the one you are watching is arbista. Robusta we do not have. Green in color when turns into red And is harvest And roasted And coffee – The final product.

– photographs And the walk continues…

Do you know the most expensive spice in the world?

Yep – Saffron if I am correct.

Correct. Saffron is grown within Kashmir but within our plantation area, we do not have the most expensive spice in the world but will show the 2nd/3rd/4th most expensive spice in the world.

Useful tour – isn’t it – I talking with self And He continues…

Cloves are the 4th most expensive spice in the world. They first appear under the tip of the branch And is green in color. Before it blooms we harvest it because once it is blooming, it is of no use. Then dry process in the sun, and the color changes into brown. When oil within is extracted the color of brown cloves turns into black.

The conclusion: Two types of cloves – Black And Brown? – I ask.

Yep – He said, and medicinal values are mostly intact within Brown ones.

I was not aware of that secret. Will talk with family members, and we walk inside the area full of greenery all around.

– The 3rd most expensive spice in the world?

No reply – Ha Ha Ha

Cardamom (elaichi). Again two types – Green And Black – Both are good. Cardamom always appears in the shoots. First, it will appear as a flower And then the seed of the flower turns into a Cardamom. Seeds within the Cardamom are good for depression. The outer is good for memory. Queen of spice i.e., Cardamom in short.

Betelnut i.e., supari. The current tree shows 3 rings within the trunk which come in one year.

– Harshad was counting And I watching.

When 7 rings are present it starts giving betelnut. At the age of 45 years, it stops production. The person who climbs the betelnut tree shifts from one betelnut tree to another as the tree is very flexible and strong. Leaves are useful to prepare pouches to serve snacks or cashew-nut.

– a few minutes back I was served cashew nuts within the pouch And I am sure that were made of betel-nut leaves.

Cacao tree – chocolate tree

That dark yellow hanging object is used to prepare the chocolate. Within our plantation it is for the knowledge you can say otherwise, we do not prepare chocolate and it is not possible to.

This is Turmeric.

Turmeric is the root of the plant. When leaves are dry the gardener or plantation owner knows turmeric is ready. It is also known as poor man’s saffron And is antiseptic. Also used by women for beauty purposes. Even before marriage, it is applied over the skin. The plant takes one And a half months to grow.

And now this one. This tree gives two spices – nutmag (jayfal) And mace (javitri) – used during cooking. Javitri is actually a flower.

Pepper – kaali mirch. There are four types of pepper – green/red/white And black in color. First, it comes into green and later turns into red. We have to put pepper into salted water, which turns it black. For white one has to boil red pepper and inside the red is white. Pepper is known as the King of spices.

And Queen? – Cardamom – said I with a smile.
Pepper was the first spice to be discovered in the whole world – said Harshad

– interesting

Lemon-grass, Cashewnut tree – We walking within the path.

Dalchini(Cinnamon) – leaves used as tejpatta – a substitute to bay leaves. Bay leaves are the original Tejpatta. Dalchini is prepared from the bark. After 12 years the plant is dried and bark is used as a spice and yes, oil is extracted to use for body massage.

Now This is all spice tree equivalent – Garam Masala or in short, we can say: five spices tree. This tree provides the taste of Garam Masala which is made from Cardamom/Cinnamon/Nutmeg/Cloves And Coriander.

Portuguese chili. Yep – They brought the plant i.e., why known as Portuguese chili. 2008 times spicier than the normal ones.

Vanilla

– The 2nd most expensive spice in the world is used as essence mainly. In the month of January/February, the flower is out, and one has to do manual pollination.

You know – feny? – said He.

Yep – The famous drink of Goa.

Correct. And here we prepare the famous alcohol – feny by squeezing through feet in the month of March/April – the season of cashew-nuts And more process. The first distill is called Hurrak which contains 8-10% of alcohol. Then the second distill i.e., feny contains 35-40% of the alcohol.

Small water flows within the plantation area from the mountains – people used to jump once the tour is completed, but now the water is kept in an earthen pot, And citronella is added. The mixture will be poured into your backbone for refreshment.

The tour was almost ended – descriptive And knowledgeable.

May I? – said Harshad.

Yes Yes why not And he poured a little over the backbone.

Citronella is prepared from Citron grass.

The knowledge continues…

And we walked towards the restaurant. Harshad showed me the area where spices are sold if I wish to buy them. Maybe when I am with Mom – said I And within the restaurant – fenny was served.

One sip I had – it is hard, maybe because I quit drinking – Lunch was served.

– veg. non-veg. within the earthen pot. I was hungry, and the food – was tasty spicy with flavor. What else one wish – said I to I.

Sahakari Spice Farm – Another visit is sure. Thank you owners for the wonderful thought of the plantation as well as the tour for the guest. Keep growing – The wish for you.

And a memento. Thanks again.