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Just relax, coconut cafes on highways

Asha Krishnaswamy, Bengaluru, March 12,2017, DHNS: 3:05 IST
One of the planned cafes. DH Photo

One of the planned cafes. DH Photo

For the first time ever, coconut cafes are coming up on highways connecting Bengaluru to places in Tumakuru and Shivamogga districts.

Called Just Relax, they serve tender coconut water and fresh and packaged snacks made from coconut. People zipping on the highways will soon have an alternative to coffee joints and dhabas: they can stop by at the new cafes and savour the goodness of coconut.

The first coconut cafe will be inaugurated at Huliyar junction, CN Halli, Tumakuru district on March 15, while second, at Kondli Cross, Bengaluru-Shivamogga Road (NH 20), will come up in April.

Namma Tengu Coconut Producers’ Company, which is establishing the cafes, will also be inaugurated on March 15. Nearly 3,000 coconut farmers from Tumakuru, Chitradurga and Chikmagalur districts have come together to set up the company.

To mark the inauguration, it has announced Elaneeru Mela, which includes a tender coconut-water drinking competition.

Anekatte Vishwanath, CEO, told DH Just Relax sells many varieties of coconut, tender coconut, virgin coconut oil, coconut flakes, and sweets such as burfi and holige made from coconut. The cafe also offers freshly prepared delicacies, like coconut rice and coconut dosa.

Flavoured and chilled tender coconut water is another attraction. Coconut ice cream, coconut water laced with honey, lemon and salt, and ayurvedic products with coconut as an ingredient will also be on the shelves.

“Our aim is to promote not just coconut but all its byproducts to the young. We will introduce millets by and by,” he said. Two more cafes are being planned, one on the highway to Chitradurga and another at a farm in Challakere. With seating and folk-style chittara drawings on the walls, they hope to attract people driving on highways to break for coconut refreshments.

If the response is good, more Just Relax outlets could come up on the state’s highways.
“The price of tender coconut will be at least Rs 5 lower than elsewhere,” Vishwanath said.

Jayaprasad Ballakere of Bhoomi, an NGO supporting the coconut promotion movement, said at least eight to ten varieties of coconut will be sold at the outlets.

The ‘Tiptur tall’ and ‘Tiptur dwarf x tall’ varieties of Karnataka will get pride of place. Varieties from Kerala, Tamil Nadu and the Andamans will also be promoted.

The idea is to encourage products free of chemical preservatives, Ballakere said.
“At the moment, we have no plans of selling coconut milk and packaged tender coconut water as they call for advanced technology. But we will sell them in the days to come,” he said.

Various organisations, such as Nabard, Coconut Development Board, and Central Plantation Coconut Research Institute, Kasargod, are supporting the enterprise.
A small cafe calls for an investment of Rs 5 lakh, while a bigger one with parking calls for more, he said.

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