Life & Style

Swadeshi Festival showcases homemade produce

Products on display at the Swadeshi Festival in Thiruvananthapuram

Products on display at the Swadeshi Festival in Thiruvananthapuram   | Photo Credit: S Mahinsha

Besides exhibition of consumer and food products, training sessions are also held at the fete

Flavours of home and local produce are key ingredients of an ongoing Swadeshi Festival YMCA Hall, Statue.

Avalosepodi is an all-time favourite snack made of roasted rice flour and coconut. But how about one made of leaves with therapeutic properties or horse gram or jackfruit seeds? Or, would you like have some chutney powder made of curry leaves? Jamun squash, kokum juice, seemanellikka (star gooseberry) pickle, bilimbi juice... one is spoilt for choice.

Bertin BA, who makes and markets the nutrient-rich avalosepodi, says it is also flavourful and tasty when mixed with jaggery and coconut. Kaara, cotton, ashankila, shatavari, basil, coconut inflorescence and adalodakam are some of the ingredients in the snack. It was one such Swadeshi Festival that he attended 10 years ago that changed the course of his life.

“I participated in a training programme to make food products. Now I run B Star Foods, with units in Kattakkada and nearby areas.” Among the items he markets are nutrient-packed thavidu chamba kuthari and value-added products from jackfruit, corn, ragi, njavara rice, bamboo rice and tapioca.

Blackberry squash at the Swadeshi Festival in Thiruvananthapuram

Blackberry squash at the Swadeshi Festival in Thiruvananthapuram   | Photo Credit: S Mahinsha

The purple-coloured, tangy Jamun (blackberry) squash is the highlight at Anila MG’s stall. A part-time accountant, she learnt food processing six years ago. “Jamun squash was an experiment that clicked. This is the third batch I have prepared,” says Anila, a native of Peyad.

“We have used the local variety of jamun because it is tastier than those that come from outside the State,” says Jacob Pulickan, director, Gandhi Centre for Rural Development (GCRD), which has been holding training programmes as part of Swadeshi fete every year.

Local produce

Then there is squash of naruneendi (sarsaparilla), ginger lime, gooseberry, mango (ripe and raw), passion fruit, pomegranate, hibiscus, and ginger, among others. Anila also has jams of different fruits. “I usually sell the items in my neighbourhood. I attended the training programme because I wanted to have an income of my own. My mother and younger sister help me,” she says. The scarlet Kokum juice, a new product at the fete, has been prepared by Vijayakumari Sasidharan, also a trainer at the fair. “Kokum products are much in demand now because of its medicinal properties. Since the fruit is not available in Kerala, we got it from Mangalore. The squash is meant for diabetics because we use rock salt instead of sugar,” says Vijayakumari, a resident of Anchal, Kollam. Once the fruits are cleaned and boiled, roasted and powdered cumin seeds and black pepper are added to the water that is drained out. Lemon essence and rock salt are the other ingredients. “It takes a couple of days to prepare it. Also, we can use the fruit instead of tamarind for rasam,” she adds.

It is the 56th edition of the festival and besides city-based units, those from other parts of the State also showcase their products. “All of them have been trained at different editions of the Swadeshi Festival,” says P Haridas, a senior member of GCRD. Jacob adds that the products are kept for sale only after they clear the quality tests of the Centre.

Food items at the Swadeshi Festival in Thiruvananthapuram

Food items at the Swadeshi Festival in Thiruvananthapuram   | Photo Credit: S Mahinsha

The training programmes are to help homemakers and economically disadvantaged people earn an income. Pickles, chutney powder, value-added products from jackfruit and jackfruit seeds, organic rice, juice made of nutmeg and green tea leaves sourced from Wayanad are available in addition to snacks and savouries, curry and masala powders, spices, cleaning materials and so on.

Nearly 60 people attend the training programmes held daily at the venue. People from Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu also take part in the training. Registration can be done at the venue prior to each day’s class, which is from 10 am to 5 pm. Fee is ₹200.

“Cake-making sessions have the maximum number of participants,” adds Jacob.

Upcoming sessions are on food products till August 11; cake-making is from August 12 to 14; umbrella-making is on August 15 and 16. Sessions on making value-added products from jackfruit are from August 17 to 20. Learn organic farming on August 21 and 22, and making of curry powders on August 23 and 24.

The fete is organised by GCRD in collaboration with the Swadeshi Trust and YMCA. It ends on August 24.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 4:51:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/home-produce-aplenty-at-swadeshi-festival/article28892681.ece

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