When you see cashew nuts what do you think? That they make for excellent snacks? That you can not eat the whole plate even if you wish to? That the kaju bafri (an Indian cashew nut dessert) tastes sinfully awesome? I too thought about cashew on similar lines, till I visited a cashew processing factory in Goa. My thoughts about cashew are never going to be the same again.
After plucking it off the tree, once the nut is separated from the cashew apple it is left for drying for approximately eight hours. I have to admit I had never seen so many cashews at one place ever before. As the shell of the cashew is still intact it cannot be eaten.
The dried cashews are then put inside a boiler. The amount of heat this machine generates can be believed only after experiencing it. Belching smoke, it went about its task with the mechanical efficiency it was designed for!
The machine spits it out after separating the shell from the nut. After this stage human beings once again come into the picture prominently.
The shells and the nuts are separated by workers and not by machine. I found a lot of women working in this unit.
While I was at the cashew farm and handling the cashew apple, I was told to be careful as the juice stains are hard to get rid of. And yet people separate the nuts and the shell for hours getting their hands deeply stained. That is how they make money! They separate it with a sharp needle like thing, where any mistake would lead to injuries to the hands.
The women were so adept at separating the two that their hands moved at a frantic pace and they hardly ever looked up from their task. She was different. She gave me an eye contact with a shy smile. I requested her for a picture for which she happily agreed.
I am sure if I did such messy work, I would not smile so readily. And did I mention the heat? The whole factory was hot. We complained incessantly about it and breathed a deep sigh of relief when we got out. And yet people go in there willingly every working day! And they smile at strangers with cameras.
Once the nut is separated it goes through further processing to dry it out. After that it is all about sorting the cashews. It is sorted, sorted and then sorted again and again and again! At the first stage the sorting was done by machines. The whole nuts would fall in one tray, the once broken into twos in another. Then there were two more trays, one for the nuts broken into four and the other for some that were crushed to the bits.
Then came the hand sorting for the nuts that were whole. You can count at least 7 vessels in the picture as the lady is sorting them according to as many aspects. Some of it involved sorting it by color.
Then the cashews were sorted by a machine one more time. The holes on the rotator were of different sizes and the machine after picking them according to size drops them into different trays. Did you ever realized the amount of work that went into bringing the cashews to your table?
Finally after a lot of sorting the cashews got dropped into a giant bag, they were weighed and then sealed at a machine nearby.
We were told that all the cashews from this particular batch were for export. We had to wear aprons, head gear and foot gear to enter the sorting part of the factory. We were happy to discard then as we got out, the heat was something to reckon with inside the premises.
As I finally stood beneath this giant tree, breathing in deeply, I was sure of one thing, I will never take cashew nuts for granted again! I know the amount of work that goes behind the scenes to bring it to my table.
Secondly I would like to remember the cheerfulness of people working in what was the ‘hot’ factory for me. I don’t think I can contemplate spending a whole day inside a cashew processing factory. This is a note to self then, to remember the factory and its cheerful women, the next time I wish to go on ‘life is so unfair’ trip because of a trifle that irritated me.
PS. I was invited by Goa Tourism on this trip.
40 thoughts on “Inside a Cashew Processing Factory in Goa”
I am also going to Goa this June for a week, and I am very much interested in visiting a cashew factory. Can you please give any leads on this?
Let me ask around and try to find out Mridul.
wow that’s some procedure! Lucky you that you got to experience it. Thanks for sharing it with us too Mridula 🙂
Thank you Archana.
Wow! I never knew so much of efforts go to bring us the lovely cashews…v insightful. Thanks for sharing!
Happy to know that you liked it, it was an eye opening experience for me too.
Very Interesting ! The whole process is amazingly neat .. and despite the machines hard work too !
Kokila I was quite taken aback about the heat inside the factory.
I have a factory. You can visit its in goa. 8308531943
Such human-intense labour – no wonder cashews are so expensive! I hope the workers got paid well.
Lady Fi I am not sure about their pay at all.
Such hard work behind the most delicious dry-fruit. No wonder why they are so irresistible 🙂
Roohi 😀 I too find them irresistible.
Unbelievable… the amount of time and effort that goes into something we eat without even looking at…
Elaborate explanation Mridula… simply superb!
Thank you Vishal, glad that you liked it.
Fruit of hardwork is always precious. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post on cashew processing 🙂
Happy to know that you liked it Ravish and thank you for sharing it on Twitter.
Never thought it goes through so many phase to be one of the fav snacks of all time …
Before going to the factory I too never gave the cahsew a second thought!
Did u know cashew is the only fruit that has its seed outside the fruit?
Great pics capturing the process.
Thanks for pointing that out Indrani.
Why no handgloves for most of the staff?
It occurred to me later Shrinidhi, I have no idea.
Thanks for sharing with us !
Thank you for stopping by Mahesh.
Wow!! Lovely clicks. Learnt so much about Cashews from your post! 🙂
Thank you Bushra.
Another awesome post, Thanks for sharing.
Thank you Rupam.
That’s a lot of work.
We used to have Cashew fruits and home and a couple of times we tried roasting the nuts and cracking the outer cover of the nuts. It was such an ordeal that there was no fun in eating them, later. They were badly broken by inexperienced hands (and those hands were left with a few bad stains, too). 😀
We have to be thankful for these skilled workers who make cashew nuts so enjoyable.
Nice post Mridula. Thank you for taking us through the steps in the cashew plant. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your childhood experience. I did not know it was so much work even to crack a few nuts!
We would like to visit this Cashew factory to start a small scale business.want to create a business plan and have to study much more the production of cashews related to all levels from the raw material depatorment to despatch department.employess hierarchy,performance level,competencies related to each Jobs…hope you will help us to visit this Cashew factory
Hi Abi, I was on a trip with Goa Tourism Board and they facilitated the visit. I suggest you get in touch with them!
The cashew grading machine you see in the end where nuts are stuck to circular drum.
it’s our invention!
World’s only grading machine that grades cashew by size, color and shape. Made in India! Made for India!
Many congratulations on the invention and my best wishes for the future.
i am also going in june to goa for visit arya cashwe factory b coz i am interested to make a factory in my village
My best wishes to you!
Sir give your cell no we want to visit
I am in goa and am searching for such factory but unable to locate. Can you please guide with name and address of that factory. I would love to go there.
Really sorry that I did not keep better notes. I was on an organized trip and I don’t remember the name of the factory.