Rajan Parrikar Photo Blog

In the Cashew Orchard

Goa’s wonder fruit.

The cashew is vital to Goa‘s identity and cultural lore. Known locally as cazu, it was first introduced in Goa (and later elsewhere in India and Asia) by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Roasted cashew nut has for long been Goa‘s most well-known export, and feni, distilled from the fermented juice of the cashew apple, a much beloved local beverage.

Earlier in March we went on a lark through a cashew orchard in the village of Narve, where we found the locals busy tending to the wonder fruit.

Note: What is commonly thought of as the fruit of the cashew tree (the cashew apple) is actually a pseudo-fruit. The real fruit of the cashew tree is the nut. See this for more. In this post, by “fruit” we mean the cashew apple.

Cashew apple with nut

Cashew apple with nut
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

Every cashew orchard in Goa is equipped with an outdoor station where the fruit is separated from the nut and laid out on a stone bed with a corner conduit (known as kolmi). The apples are crushed and the first gush of juice is collected and allowed to ferment for a couple of days. The pulped apples are then bound and weighted. The next run of thicker ooze is highly prized, the supremely refreshing non-alcoholic drink called niro.

The fermented juice is processed at the distillation station known as bhatti. The first iteration yields urrack, the second distillate is the potent feni.

 
Separating cashew apple from nut

Separating cashew apple from nut
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
Raw cashew nuts

Raw cashew nuts
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 

Meanwhile, in another corner of the forest, my niece Saraswati was enjoying herself.

Saraswati plucking cashew

Saraswati plucking cashew
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
Much joy ensues

Much joy ensues
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
When iPhone 5 met Goan cashew

When iPhone 5 met Goan cashew
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 

The extraction of cashew juice begins.

Sudhakar Vengurlekar Stomping and mashing

Stomping and mashing
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
Juice is collected

Cashew juice flows from the kolmi
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
Distillation station

Distillation station, bhatti
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 

Binding pulped cashew fruit
Pulped fruit bound and weighted

Pulped fruit bound and weighted
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
Veena sampling fresh niro

Veena sampling fresh niro
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 

After a hard day’s work, farmer Sudhakar Vengurlekar poses for a portrait.

Sudhakar Vengurlekar of Narve, Goa

Sudhakar Vengurlekar of Narve, Goa
5D Mark III, Zeiss ZE 50 f/2 MP

 
Cashew grove in Narve, Goa

And off he goes…
5D Mark III, 24-105L

 
 
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