When we arrived at Devsar Farms near Bicholim in Goa I immediately felt relaxed. In front of me were rows of rubber trees. I could see green mangoes hanging nearby and a slender cashew tree added to the allure in the immediate vicinity. The parking spot for our vehicle was a giant banyan tree. My usual concrete filled vision found all this extremely soothing.
Farms and green places immediately remind me of home, in the small town of Gorakhpur. My father used to work in railways and I grew up among many trees. However, all of us now live in Gurgaon. When I was young having a green home was business as usual and now I hardly get time to I get nostalgic.
As we were attending Goa’s Coconut and Cashew Festival 2015 it was appropriate that the itinerary included a visit to a cashew farm. For me this was a first as well. We were there at the low season, most of the cashews were plucked but I still got to see a few. After picking up the fruit, the nut is separated from the apple. The nut goes for further processing and the cashew apple is used to make Feni, the famous local alcoholic drink!
Our guide for the day was Mr. Joshi who is the owner of the farm. He was quite happy to show us around, even though the day was hot. He encouraged us to try out any fruit that caught our fancy straight from the tree.
I was game to sip directly from the apple after the cashew nut was taken out. The juice is sweet with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Some find the smell of the fruit overbearing. For me it was not a problem. I was warned to be careful with the juice as its stains are permanent.
Mr. Joshi told us that representatives of cashew factories were happy to come to the farm and buy off the product. Even though the cashew was the main star of the visit there were other attractions too.
Before the visit to the Devsar Farm Kokum was a flavor for me on a packaged juice. And then I got to eat the fruit after plucking it straight off the tree! Kokum belongs to Mangostien family. I loved its tangy/sweet taste. Its skin can be dried and used to make juices and kadhi.
I am religiously collecting the skin of the fruits that I got to carry home. The generous Mr. Joshi gave us a bagful of Kokums to carry home as well. As I predicted there itself, my daughter is enjoying them a lot, she likes tangy things.
This fruit picking session so reminded me of my childhood when the only way I would eat Litchi was straight after plucking from the tree, nestled comfortably in a branch, with juice dripping down my elbows!
As we were walking back to our car, I asked Mr. Joshi if the farm was open to visitors? He said not yet but there were plans to open it later. We also talked about the possibility of letting the tourists get involved with cashew picking and he said they were quite open to the idea!
When we later regrouped for a late lunch at Calangute Beach, I did realize how hot the day actually was. But I was so enjoying myself at the farm that the heat never bothered me there. The visit to the Devsar Farm was one of the highlights of my trip.
PS. I was invited by Goa Tourism on this trip.
To me Madaba in Jordan felt like a small town. I spent only a few hours in the town so I cannot be sure. The major attraction to visit the town was the Madaba Mosaic- the most famous of which is the Madaba Map. It is housed in the Greek Orthodox Church of the town.
So, for this Lazy Sunday (which is not really lazy as I would be traveling back from Pragpur, Himachal Pradesh) I bring you a fruit stall from Madaba, Jordan. Now don’t they look fresh?
This photo happened because of shopping. No, we were not shopping for fruits. We were interested in shopping, proper. Someone wanted a sim card, others looking for souvenirs. Some do what they like best, window shopping. All of us were interested in the Dead Sea mud based cosmetic products as they make for a great souvenir. The other very popular souvenir from Madaba are the mosaic fridge magnets. As they are mosaic pieces on the wood, the magnet comes of often!
While we were walking on the road we also witnessed a wedding procession, Jordan style. There was a convoy of cars with people honking and hanging out of the windows. It caused a small commotion in our group as otherwise the people of Jordan do not honk. Our guide reassured us that it was alright, this was just a wedding procession!
But going back to shopping, one by one most of the members of my group disappeared in the nearby shops. As I completed my shopping quickly, I was hanging out on the pavements. And that is when I saw this fruit stall. It was arranged so well and the owner was not near it. I could click it without any hesitation. This one was clicked with my Lumia 1020.
I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!
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