Updated: Jul 18
I still vividly remember my first enthralling encounter with the city of Jhalawar. It wasn’t its verdant landscape, its princely forts, or its beautiful orange orchards, it was an intoxicating citrus aroma that captivated my senses the moment I got down at the station at 4 in the morning. The incredibly pleasing fragrance of freshly harvested coriander greeted me upon arrival. My sleepy self was wide awake by now and I couldn’t wait for what lay ahead of me.
Rajasthan and Gujarat are two of the major coriander spice producing states in India while Rajasthan is home to the largest mandi (govt established marketplace for bulk trading) in Ramganj, lot’s more details on it a little later in the blog. As I began my sourcing trip I couldn’t help but be beguiled by the beautiful countryside landscape of the city that kept me company throughout my journey. This is also where our coriander gets its name from. :)
After visiting about 4 farms, navigating my way through aromatic orange orchards, walking amidst insanely fragrant coriander fields, making friends with like 10 cows, I could swear that the slow countryside life was taking over me and I wished that I didn’t have to return. Having spent an entire day at Girdhari’s farm ( who today happens to be our farm partner for the zestiest coriander you’ll ever taste) I can unarguably say that it was the most enriching experience. I had the wonderful opportunity to profoundly understand his farming practices, the challenges he faces, the efforts he puts into producing the most flavourful and aromatic coriander I’d come across and so much more that I’d otherwise been unfamiliar with. This coriander is absolutely different from what you would normally get at the store — it’s citrusy, unbelievably aromatic and low-key intoxicating. After spending almost half my day at Girdhari’s farm, gorging on delicious Rajasthani food surrounded by pomegranate trees, I was ready to head out to a place I had been most excited about. No, it’s not another coriander farm but the famous Ramganj Mandi that happens to be one of India’s largest APMC setup. (see images below)
The moment I walked into the main bay my senses were assaulted with disparate aromas of coriander from all corners, each looked different from the other. Buyers from all around India had gathered there to purchase the fresh harvest of coriander. What happened next was a staggering revelation. The coriander that I had spent two days sampling, going from one farm to another in the irksome summer heat, packed in my bag ready to be lab tested was being bid by multiple buyers just based on how green it looked! Nobody cared about where it came from, who grew it, how it was grown, the only thing that mattered was how it looked and yeah a little maybe how fragrant it was. The average commodity price for the sale was 5X lower than the price I had agreed upon with my farm partners if their coriander qualified my set parameters. This was disappointing the least to say. Another startling conversation with a farmer who’d come to sell his produce revealed to me that most of the farmers treat their coriander with harmful chemicals to enhance the green colour which fetches them a higher price. So the bright green coriander you see in the image above has actually been treated to give it that colour.
But then you have farmers like Girdhari and many others I met on my sourcing trip who are working really hard to eradicate this pedestrian system. They’re the flagbearers of change our corrupt system could really use and honestly, they’re doing their best to convince other fellow farmers to switch to regenerative farming by setting stellar examples.
Checkout this bomb coriander that we got for you: Countryside Coriander
You can know more about our sourcing trip and BTS on our Instagram stores here: Coriander 2021 Harvest