Spice Farm, Goa
Indian spices have been a part of the country's history for thousands of years. Sahakari Spice Farm is a great place to learn about many of these spices.
After we arrived we were warmly welcomed, given a flower garland to wear, and a red sindoor (dot) was applied to our foreheads. We were split into small groups and sent off with a guide for our tour. Our guide was informative and funny. Thirty years ago the farm was almost all barren land. Since then the farm has developed using a combination of new farming techniques and mixed crop farming.
The smells were inviting and we were quizzed on our knowledge of various spices and plants. We smelled vanilla, cinamon, and nutmeg. We learned about medicinal herbs. We passed cashew trees, banana trees, and betel nut trees. We watched as a farm employee scurried up a tree to retrieve some betel nuts. We were even given the opportunity to try it ourselves.
Soon it was time for a buffet lunch served in a rustic outdoor restaurant. There were both veg and non-veg options. Fruits, sweets, and coconut water were among the offerings. Lunch was excellent and a great way to end our day at the farm. There is a small stall next to the restaurant that sells various spices and medicinal herbs.
There are a few spice plantations/farms in Goa but I can definitely recommend Sahakari.
There are a number of spice farms you can visit.
For me, I found it a bit of an informative rip off. We arrived, were greated with garlands of flowers, showed around a plot especially for the tourists. Ok, I do understand the actual plantation was so vast we could never have walked around it but it would have been nice to see banana trees for as far as the eye can see, as opposed to here is a banana tree, here is a pepper tree etc... As I say it was very informative - did you know that bamboo is the tallest grass in the world? The second tallest is elephant grass and the third tallest is a banana treet - yes, banana trees are a variety of grass! Also, Coca Cola is the biggest buyer of the vanilla pod - something to do with thir 'secret recipe'
After the brief tour of the tourist area we had freezing cold water tipped down our backs (to mark a tradition) and were presented with a lunch buffet which (strangely enough for India) worked on the premise that everybody was a carnivore! As a vegetarian the pickings were slim. The food was included in the cost of the tour but the drinks were not. his is standard practice for such a tour.
After the lunch we could purchase from the shop but as my spice cupboard back home is already overflowing with cheeky little packets that I have brought in Tescos as well as from all over the world I gave it a miss... there was no hard sale. And then we left.
I am pleased we had thrown a spice farm into our day as an 'extra' and had not actually set a day aside for this experience.
One of the most favoured tourist destinations of Goa are the spice farms. Most of them are located in and around Ponda in the center of Goa. Goa produces exotic aromatic spices and one can view in these farms the plantations of spices and how the same are grinded into powder form for use. Mainly Goa is known for spices like Black pepper, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Chillies, Coriander etc. Many of the firms follow the organic method of planting and growing spices. A visit to one of the spice farms of Goa would definitely be interesting. Some well known ones are Sahakari Spice Farm spread over 130 acres, 2 kms from Ponda, Abyss Spice Farm, also in Ponda and Savoi Spice Plantation, 10 kms from Ponda.
One of the highlights of a trip to Goa is a visit to a Spice Farm. You will have a guided tour around the farm , showing you the several indian spices. I visited the Sahakari Spice Farm, one of the most recommended in Goa.
The guests the entrance of the spice garden are welcomed with traditional Aarti, Kunku and Garlands / flowers - equivalent to the status of God! Upon arrival at "SAHAKARI SPICE FARM" guests are offered:
Tender Coconut / Kokum / Raw Mango juice (Panneh) & Lemon Grass Tea
Cheese Biscuit/Wafers & Cashew nuts
Prawns / Fish Curry
Veg. in Gravy
Cabbage / Banana flower Veg. /Jackfruit Veg.
They also have folk and temple dances performed for the groups . Added attraction to Spice Farm are three Elephants, male, female and baby.
A ticket entitles you to all this and will cost you only 300 Rupees
We have been to Sahakari spice farm.Its good , but the best one is further 10 kms called Mystic woods. Its slighly speciality form- you got to be neck deep in bird watching,etc to enjoy it fully. They got the best water to play in. The guides are better informed and it is less touristy. With their policy of restricting number of tourists I think they maintain good quality of experience.
It is also worthwhile to visit the studio of wildlife artist Yashodan. Reclusive , but the paintings are mind boggling. We picked up two for as low as $800 . I managed to sell one back here for twice the amount !
Recommend you rent one of those bikes , but watch out for polic asking for baksheesh - thats one sour memory we carry.
There are quite a few of Spicy Farms within the GOA. We had a great experience to visit one of them. For me it was very interesting to see how the pepper, cashew nuts grow, taste fresh cinnamon and so on.
We visited Sahakari Spice Farm, the oldest one in Goa. There are more spice farms in Goa, each of them interesting in its own way.
The ticket costs 300 rupees (and you are welcome to leave some tips too), which includes lunch.
At first you are told some general facts about spices, then you have a guided tour round the spice farm. The Sahakari Farm also offers bathing with an elephant as an entertainment.
Don't forget to take a bottle of water when you go there. The guided tour takes about 45 minutes, and it's hot there.