May 4, 2013


Ooty a hill station down south has so much to offer for food lovers and food explorers.
I happen to be at there on right time of harvesting and sowing few raw materials.
It's always not the beautiful nature, scenic beauty or the pleasant cool weather that i was attracted to. It's been the third time i was there and i was in no mood to lay back. Heard of mushroom harvest,carrot scattered all around,strawberries,leaks, broccoli,butter fruit,never to forget homemade chocolates or the Varkey which one of my friend asked me to taste. Tea are always a mandatory ones from the hilly areas.

Hope if you had been to Ooty you might have seen the below blue interlinear roofs..those are the places where the cute white button mushrooms are grown. I made it sure this time to see those.
There are few owners who let you in to see those cute buds and i happen to be one too..
Each Mushroom farm has about minimum 4-5 covered length grounds. To note was nor the covered area was totally dark nor it was totally out of heat. Once the door of the go-down is opened you get hot air gushing out. Mushs are grown is bed like stakes with layers. Each stake has around 7-8 bed linings and each bed linings have more than 50 -80 bags of manure with mushs on them.The mushrooms were such in perfect display of purity that you just can't resist touching them. But, once its plucked you have to be careful enough not to take them in sunlight.

When asked about harvest process it was simple to say but lot to maintain.
Mushrooms do not have chlorophyll inside them hence, to grow them you need organic matter.Artificial composts such as straw,corn cobs,gypsum,cotton seeds,nitrogen supplements etc..are used to make them get nutrients and grow.

 Preparation of compost takes 2-3 weeks. Then they are pasteurized in beds or trays.
After maintaining correct heat and temperature you can see white root structures called Mycelium.
During that process a peat moss is spread on the compost so as to make those Mycelium push those moss and grow up. This process is called pinning. The first harvest takes place between 20-30 weeks approx.

Few points the farmers are very particular about are:
1. No livestock are to be grown near by. They say the smell of them would spread immediately on the mushrooms and spoil the entire process.
2. Mushrooms are to be consumed within 2 days or have to be preserved in a particular temperature or else they shouldn't be consumed.
3. Never soak mushrooms in water as they pull in water inside.
4. Wash them and pat them with soft cloth.

Carrots as you know are grown in abundance in these hilly areas. You might have seen them on farms or sold on road fresh. But, have you ever seen the process of washing them. Cleaning the carrots are done through a barrel procedure.

Tons of carrots which are harvested are put into the railing track which in turn throws the carrots in the rolling gap barrel like structures. Water is pumped into the barrel and thus the carrots are cleaned. The mud water is not wasted and is in turn gushed in to the near by fields.

Coming to fruits you get fresh strawberries,butter fruit - you would soon be seeing a refreshing drink on this blog made out of it, peaches,plums,cherries. Vegetables like leaks,celery, broccoli., butter beans are cheap to buy..but dare not to buy the regular ones as they are much costlier than the cities.

Varkey - Ooty varkey a perfect snack along with hot tea. They are made out of maida and can be called sister of Khaja or puffs. Crunchy salty outside and with mild sweet inside. Though made with vanaspati. Indulging once in a while doesn't harm the system. Sorry i forgot to take a snap of it as was very serious in process of indulgence ;)

A veggie restaurant i shall recommend - Nahar which is in Ooty. It's plenty and you can get from north to south. Though they don't have any special dish of their own. Price is bit on the higher side. Ambiance is pretty good to dine in. They are pretty strict on timings though.

Only once i really got off my mind was the chocolate fountain at boat house. You would c made near by with a chocolate fountain.

Dipping in a white kulfi like piece into it and selling. I thought so it was an ice cream or a kulfi being dipped. but guess what it was a plain cup cake dipped and given. I must say it was costly and we were disappointed. Nevertheless, chocolate matched the scene.

Ooty this time was indeed a tasteful journey from the start :))