After two unsuccessful attempts to find genuine Organic fruit producers in Shimla, H.P., I came across Monsoon Harvest Farms at Abohar Punjab. Their claim of true Organic farming needed to be cross checked, as I really was disappointed with the apple growers in H.P. Also my love for Kinnows and Gobhi-Gajar pickles was another reason to head to Abohar.
I headed for Abohar with a suspicious mindset. Reaching early in the morning at Monsoon Harvest Farms, at village Balluana, Abohar, I wasted no time and quickly went around for a tour of the 51 acre Farmlands with the Farm manager.
The very first impression was satisfying and rewarding, lush green wheat fields all around and the Kinnows in this green background formed a landscaped view. I just stood for a while outside the orchards enjoying the beauty. The farm owner Mr Preetendra Singh’s (P.S.) dogs were accompanying and safeguarding me as I relished few personally picked farm fresh kinnows.
I did had a satisfying small discussion with the manager before P.S. joined me for the next phase of farm tour. P.S. then explained all about his efforts in promoting organic farming at his parental farms.
Preetendra is a Mayo College alumni who brought organic cultivation to his family farm. He informed me about the difference in what we normally get in the fruit markets and his kinnows. Kinnows from his farms are grown without use of any chemicals and are unpolished and unwaxed. I wanted to know more, so during my entire stay at his farms, P.S. kept on adding to my knowledge.
Monsoon Harvest Farms at Abohar in Punjab is purely an organic farm spread in 51 acres. Organic Kinnows (citrus, mandarin) are the main highlight of the farm. Organic basmati rice, wheat, vegetable, pulses and mustard are also grown. P.S. has been actively involved with the farms for last 8-9 years.
Monsoon Harvest Farms are also situated at Kurukshetra, Haryana. Both these farms are certified organic by ECOCERT under USDA, NPOP & EU standards. The farm has it’s own Vermicomposting and follows Green Manuring on the farm. They use Bio-Pesticides only including Neem Oils and also their own creations based on Cow Urine, Cow Ghee, Butter Milk, Green Chilly, Garlic, Onion and Ginger. The in-house produced Vermi-Compost (indigenously formulated based on practical experiences) are used to enhance the soil activity which results in healthier soil, healthier crops and protection from bacterial and fungal diseases.
Organic farm normally produces products which are smaller in size and less attractive when compared to the usual chemical fed produces. Also the yield has been noticed on a lower side. For this P.S. said that “ taking up organic route in agriculture was a tough decision and for almost 4 years due to the drastic drop in yields farm faced losses which went down to almost 70%. However, with support of family and persistent hard work every year it got better. He proudly mentioned that the yield today from his organic farm is at par with the modern chemical fed farming practices.
According to him now the challenges are to market the produce and to bring in technology that is not too expensive and which can replace or reduce the labor issues. At Monsoon Harvest Farms entire organic produce is sold through direct marketing. He adds, “the organic market is neither organised nor is big enough in India, so there aren’t too many middlemen that one comes across as yet. Also this provides the consumer directly with clean & fresh produce straight from our farms, at the best possible prices with the best quality. Our aim is to provide the consumers directly FROM OUR HOME TO THEIRS.”
In coming year it is planned to get into more of direct marketing of entire farm produce by creating processed and value added products from farm itself.
After a wonderful n tasty breakfast of organic Mooli paranthas with pickles made of raw turmeric and organic gobhi and gajar, and few glasses of organic kinnow juice, P.S. got busy with his daily chores at the farms. And I went again to the kinnow orchards for more tastings and also for picture shoots with his dogs.
I was fully occupied throughout the entire morning in watching, chasing and photographing the dogs, Neelgai (Blue Bulls), varieties of birds and my all time favourite raptor Owlets. The Kinnows were full of flavour, sweet and tasty. Even parrots and other birds loved these kinnows and I could see this through half eaten fruits till on the trees.
We were joined by Preetendra’s Brother in Law at lunch time and after lunch we drove out to explore areas near Abohar and spot more birds and the Deer family inhabitants, BlackBuck and Chinkara. And we got lucky at Village Raipura and spotted a herd of chinkara and a few blackbucks. Also spotted were few partridges, and other bird varieties and I returned fully satisfied.
If you too want to enjoy the organic Kinnows, please get in touch with Mr. Preetendra at Monsoon Harvest Farms, Dhani Thakur Singh,, 152116 VPO. Balluana, Tehsil Abohar, District Fazilka, Punjab.
They are going to harvest the kinnows for the last time this year in March first week, but other products are available throughout the year. Please check their FB page https://www.facebook.com/monsoonharvestfarms/?fref=ts