Cardamom , the queen of spices, the magic pod is the main Cash crop of the the farmers out in Western Ghats , especially Idukki District of Kerala region. This Crop is very often known as the Queen of Spices and has got a distinct flavor and Aroma and so is its uses , its edible and is often a vital ingredient of Deserts and Arabic dishes and has got medicinal properties . Its anti aging properties takes up extracting cardamom oils and essences
Before discussing about the harvest process, let me tell you what makes it so costly, Cause its a highly labour intensive agricultural yeild wherein mechanisation has come in the least. Right from planting the sapling to the process of harvesting this plant has to be taken care like the new born . Be it the fertilisation, harvesting each and every plant has to be taken care individually and so is its price goes up.
In normal cases the season starts with the first rain of the summer season wherein the farmers start preparing the plant for the monsoon with fertilizations and to add further a good monsoon weather increases the yeild and helps the plants to flower more, and the pollination part is done by honeybee like other plants. the Harvest cycle is between a cycle of 30- 45 days consecutively starting by mid of June and which lasts till the month of February.
and the process of harvesting is so interesting that the farmers get to know that the crop is ripe enough on seeing the shells of the pods being eaten up by squirrels and other rodents, and discarded near the plants. cause the ripened pods have got a sweet taste which attracts the squirrels and like rodents .
Very often female laborer’s are assigned to harvest the ripened pods and every pods is beeing given individual attention at the time of harvest and the plucked ones are then washed and is beeing subjected to the process of Drying to remove water contents , wihc gives it an intense aroma and flavour.
these processed pods are the packed in polythene bags and are stored using jute bags to retain its freshness. While 8 mm in the Frist grade , estate bulk is the lowest of the sizes which usually have 40 + % of 5 mm size.