A Fresh, Organic Getaway in the Midst of Nature

Harvest Fresh Farms

Kochi: Craving an escape to the comfort of greens? One cannot be closer to the heart of our countryside than when staying in a farm. Farmers are the rural custodians of our great landscapes and Harvest Fresh Farms at Cumbum Valley near Thekkady is the perfect way to experience this fact.

Harvest Fresh Farms at Cumbum Valley near Thekkady gifts guests an opportunity to unwind and develop a liking for farming

Located in the midst of pristine nature yet close to small towns and the famous Periyar Tiger Reserve, the 35-acre farmland is a short 15-minute drive down from Kumily, Thekkady. What make the farm unique are the toxic-free organic fruits and vegetables cultivated there. “Traditionally, we have been a family of planters and agriculturists and there is an inherent relationship between man and land. When we bought the land in 2008 we had decided to engage in organic farming only as we have always been very health conscious and aware about raising crops free from pesticides and chemicals,” says Kurien Jose (Jr.), CEO, Harvest Fresh Farms.

The farm has received organic certification from INDOCERT, the agency accredited by National Accreditation Body (NAB), Government of India. “Conventional farming leads to non-renewable soil that gradually loses its fertility. We need to recognise the importance of building sustainable processes, about respecting the relationship between man, beast, crops and land and creating a positive impact on the environment in the long run,” adds Kurien.

Harvest Fresh Farms is an idyllic weekend getaway which gifts guests an opportunity to unwind and develop a liking for farming. “It has been a very exciting experience and we have received positive feedback especially from families living in metro cities about how a stay in the farm changed their outlook on nature and healthy living. They love the activities at the farm, from the jeep, tractor and bullock cart rides, to the petting and feeding of animals and a jaunt on the bicycle through nearby fields. It is an authentic and rewarding natural experience for the urban dweller,” says Kurien.

The farm has three well-appointed rooms fitted with modern amenities and a separate living room with kitchen attached. “We started the project on a barren land and currently produce pomegranate, papaya, passion fruit, mango, guava, sapodilla, coconut, custard apple, soursop and tender coconut,” explains Kurien. There is also an aesthetically laid out herbal garden.

The farm employs around 30 people directly. “We are also providing revenue-earning opportunities for people living nearby,” says Kurien. He feels the commercialisation overdrive of agriculture business has taken a toll on both land and humans. “Now people are becoming aware of the high levels of pesticides and chemical residues in the fruits and vegetables available in the market. Since we need to eat cleaner, fresher food to remain healthy, having organic food is no longer a matter of choice,” he says.

Ask him about the challenges he faces as a person engaged in organic farming and Kurien says competing with cheaper products in the marketplace is a fact every organic farmer has to deal with. “It is very important for us to get the pricing right, maintaining the crop cycle and making it all financially viable. Spreading awareness and keeping people more informed through proper marketing and public relations has been the key strategy for our success,” he opines.

“Our products are available in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka,” adds Kurien. He feels there is great market potential now. “People have already started asking for organically grown produce and the demand will continue to rise. Government agencies have also been supportive,” says Kurien.