These days we hear and read so much about the unsystematic use of harmful pesticides and fertilizers on the vegetables and fruits we consume. Yes, unfortunately it is a reality. On the flip side of the coin, there are also positive developments in the area of farming, strictly using organic methods.
In the third week of October a group of us were given an exciting opportunity to experience such a farm in Tamil Nadu by Travel Cart, tour operators located at Kochi. We got an early start from Kumily on the day of our visit. Our destination was ‘Harvest Fresh Farm’ located at an area known as Lower Camp in Kazhuthamedu, Tamil Nadu. It is 14 kilometers of scenic drive from Kumily. Because of the picturesque quality of this Ghats section, this only feels like a short journey. For people who are familiar with the sights and sounds of the old village life in southern India, this could become a nostalgic experience. For example we passed a bull driven cart clanging along, carrying produce from the valley below. This was real surprising, as this practice had ceased to exist for many years. We stopped to take some rare and amazing photographs. We stopped at many places on the way towards Thammanam-petti village to photograph outstanding landscape, playful monkeys and birds.
At Thammanam-petti village, we stopped at a pick up point. A bull-cart was waiting here for us. This was a welcome surprise, because the last time I rode a bull-cart was about 50 years back when I was a small boy. We boarded the cart and travelled through 3 kilometers of somewhat rugged but interesting country road with coconut plantation on both sides, before reaching Harvest Fresh Farm.
We were promptly greeted by the estate manager. We were then lead to the reception area for a fresh glass of organic pomegranate juice. We were told that they serve different organic juices like guava, passion fruit, grape, tender coconut etc. based on the season and its availability. We then got freshened up at the rooms reserved for us.
Next we had a very interesting tour of the farm. As the land is flat, walking was pleasant and easy. It is quite a large farm covering an area of 35 acres of fertile land. The manager told us that it took 5 years of hard work and meticulous preparations to bring the farm to the level of yielding. We were impressed by the huge variety of plants and trees. Even though I was familiar with many of the trees in this farm, some of them took me by surprise. They were rare and unfamiliar.
The following is a list of the major fruit bearing trees found at this farm. There are more than 1000 Jackfruit trees, 20,000 Pomegranate plants, Mango, Passion fruit, Sapodilla, Gooseberry, 3 varieties of Custard Apples, A few varieties of Jamba, Cashew, A variety of Bananas, Arinelli, Manila Tamarind, Tamarind, Mussambi, Lemon, Orange, Grapes, Lychee, Coconut, Rose Apple, Noni, Papaya (Red Lady) etc.
Also a variety of fowl-family birds, rabbits, turkey and cattle are reared here. The plantation tour takes about 2 and half hours; following which a sumptuous local Tamilian lunch is served.
For fertilizer, cow dung based manure is produced at the farm. The cattle are ‘Kasagdan Dwarf’. The dung and urine of these cattle are ideal for making organic manure. Bio-gas from the dung is used as Gober gas. Jeevamrutham is also produced by fermenting dung, urine and jaggery. Also, major manure for plants is made here using coir-pith compost. Solar pest trap is used to kill pest that are harmful to plants and its produce.
Harvest Fresh Farm has Indo-cert certification from Indian Organic Certification Agency. We were given to understand that India’s national program for organic production standards are considered equivalent to council regulation (EC) No. 834/2007(category A&F) and Swiss Organic Farming Ordinance for unprocessed plant products originating in India.
This tremendous and educative experience at organic Harvest Fresh Farm was an eye opener, when there is an ever growing concern about the uncontrolled use of pesticides and harmful manure on the fruits and vegetables we consume. It was well worth spending this great day at the farm.This entry was posted in Blog