We primarily work with farmers in India.
Meet one of the cardamom farmers from Vadanmedu, Idukki, Kerala. Cardamom crop is graded based on the size of cardamom – A being the biggest. The stock from this part of India is graded as an A category crop thus considered the best size and quality.
Here is Mr Bipin Vasudevan at the Brook haven farm. He has be doing cardamom farming for the last 20-25 years.
Cardamom has the most wonderful aroma and is used widely in all kinds of dishes, desserts and drinks.
It is also a delicate plant and needs to be shaded from direct sunlight, in the summer, to avoid damage. Therefore, you will most likely find the cardamom plantations in higher altitude forest areas, shaded under big trees. The branches of the trees are removed during winter and rainy season to give better light to the plants. Cardamom is also a water-loving crop, you will therefore find borewells and small dams in most of the farms. When the rains are good the yield is great.
If you plant 1 stem of cardamom, within 24 months they expand into 30 – 40 stems. 1 plant gives about 1 to 2kg cardamom. You will find about 450 plants in 1 acre (400 hectares) of land. From which a farmer gets about 500 to 1000kgs yield per year. The yield is every 45 days. The first harvest is usually in mid-July, but the best crop comes from the 2nd and 3rd harvest from mid-Sept.
Cardamom farming is primarily on organic farming methods. Even the medicines used to treat the plants are natural and organic.
The farmers who till the soil also live on the farms. There are about 40 farmers on this Brook Haven, at any given time. It is usually husband and wife teams who live and work on the farms. More casual workers are needed during harvest season– from mid-July till Feb/ March.
80% of the harvesters are women, possibly due to their attention to detail and dainty fingers!