An assortment of rare finds

It was quite a sight to see the Monsoon Malnad Mela, held recently at ‘Vriksh – The Organic Store’ in Vyalikaval. Other than a surprising number of organic food products on sale, there were also beauty products, monsoon seeds and a live-food counter.

“We started our monsoon mela because people told us that they don’t want to wait for the annual Malnad Mela. The response is only getting better with each edition. The seeds are popular because a lot of people are getting into urban gardening and are conscious about what they eat these days. The food products and live-food counter also run well. In fact, someone just bought 30 packets of tambli powder!” shares Sunitha Rao of Vanastree, which organised the event.

Among the food products were honey, kokam nectar, chutney pudis, ginger-jaggery toffees, mango saat, rice ‘papad’, pickles, banana and jackfruit chips and a variety of other things. The tambli powders were also fast-moving and available in flavours like brahmi, nelli, drumstick and curry leaf.  In addition to the seeds, a limited number of traditional Malnad tubers like Colocasia kesu, Elephant’s Foot yam and sweet potato were also available. Malnad foods made on the spot included the signature kashaya, kokam soup, masala jackfruit papad, and thellevu dosai with coconut chutney, jaggery and ghee.

“People in Bangalore seem to be waiting for this. I feel the response is better this time because people are there from when we open in the morning itself. We collect the products, which are mostly organic, from women in villages and this helps them make a living,” explains Vanishree, a volunteer. Visitors who attended the mela seemed to know exactly what was available and were keen to try out the new items that were on sale.

“This is not my first time here; I’m a regular at these melas and look forward to them. The City stores aren’t well-stocked with products and that’s why I’m here on the first day to buy my bag of goodies,” shares Ananya Mehta, a visitor. “The tamblis are really good and the forest honey and nelli products are phenomenal. The seeds they sell aren’t easily available either,” she adds. 

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