Secret Spot: The Tanshikar Spice Farm

- Test your knowledge about Spices -

Do you know what the most expensive spice is? And do you know the average growing time of vanilla? This and many more facts now on my new article about the Tanishkar Spice Farm deep in the south Goan rain forest. 



After a few days at the beach I felt that I have to hit the road. Tobias was not so happy about the idea to explore Indians sweaty-smelly local buses, the traffic jams and about the waste of time to find a hotel every evening. So we decided he stays at the beach and I do what I love anyways: solo traveling. My bus journey took me from Mandrem to Mapusa, Panjim, Margao and finally Palolem in South Goa. I was tempted to go further south but then a spice farm in the deep hilly rain forest of Goa grabbed my attention. As it was already late, I decided to go by a private taxi.


Three taxi drivers said the road is too dangerous but the fourth one was willing to drive. So, we drove up the curvy tight road and it got higher and higher. We crossed the gate of an protected nature reserve and the journey continued still uphill. Fantastic views wherever I looked. Deep bushy jungle! After an hour, in the middle of nowhere, a little sign: Tanishka Spice Farm. That is my destination. Arriving at the farm, I am splashed and almost hypnotized by that peaceful, spiritual place. The spice-farm family welcomed me with a ginger-lemon tea and told me straight away: We are not into commercialised tourism. That´s for sure. 


The farm consist out of the family´s house - a traditional mud house - the spice plantation itself and, even deeper into the forest, the lodging-area with a five or six rooms and two tree-houses. With me two other people from the UK stayed there. Food, three times a day included, is organic, vegan (or vegetarian if you want) and from local production, added by their own spices. 





To share a few of the very interesting facts that I have learned during my stay on the spice farm, I have created this little Quiz for you:

Test your knowledge about spices & Indian culture and read

the article to get the answers.

Continue for the answers...

Why does a chili-bush means 100% profit for the Tanishkar Spice Farm? 


Funny fact: Birds love to eat the green, unripe, chilies. They cannot digest the tiny chili seeds, so they would fall down on the ground while the bird does his businessThe Tanishkar Spice Farm never planted any chilies and yet they have many, many bushes! All free of charge and thanks to the birds who flew over the farm and pooped.


How do they clean the inside of a mud-house?


They use(d) cow pooh. And they explained, that cow pooh is 100% hygienic and bacteria free. This is also one reason why cow are holy in India: They are considered as very pure, clean animals.


What is the difference between red, green and black pepper? 




The secret is: It is all the same type of pepper, the same plant. Just the status of ripeness is different. Green pepper is harvested early, maybe four months because the pepper would turn black. Black pepper is also dried in the sun. Red pepper: Soak black pepper for two weeks in water and then peel it. Green pepper is very mild, black and red pepper are spicy whereas red pepper has a sweeter taste. 


Who is the King of Spices?


Move over caviar and truffles, saffron, the King of spices, is by far, the most expensive food on Earth, costing USD $5,000 per pound. Native to Asia, this Indian spice is actually the mere stigma of the Crocus Sativus flower. Large quantities of these flowers are required to be harvested in order to yield a viable supply of saffron threads, since each flower only has three stigmas (it takes 50,000- 75,000 flowers to produce one pound of dried saffron threads, equivalent to approximately 20 hours of labor), making the harvesting an extremely labor intensive and time consuming process. Today, saffron is grown mainly in Spain, Italy, Greece, India and Iran, with the best quality saffron originating from Kashmir. 

Why did Indians (and some still do) built houses by mud? 



Probably out of various reasons, but one mud is indeed very ergonomic. As mud is very flexible even when it is dried, walking, jumping and especially meditation and yoga are best practiced on muddy ground. This is the healthier option for legs and knees compared to cement or bricks. 



Which fruits dispose of three different types of flowers: female, male and bisexual?


Avocado and Papaya exist in three different types of plants: female (can have flowers), male (can pollinate the female) and bisexual (can do both). For the case of avocado, it needs 9 years (!) to find out the sex of your plant. 9 years to find out whether you can have fruits or not. A long time for a spice farm! 


Why is Vanilla extremely expensive? 



Did you know that vanilla grows on other trees? Their roots don't disembogue into the ground, but to the skin of other plants. Each flower gives only pod and one pod needs 12 months to grow. This extremely long growing process and the hard labor to harvest everything by hand makes vanilla the second expensive spice. 





What´s your score in the spice test?

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