Sahakari Spice Farm provides an excellent first introduction to India's spice-growing and production. Here you'll get to see where your spices come from and learn about how they’re grown, dried, and processed. If they’re daring enough, guests can also try their hand at swinging from betel-nut palms.
This farm is situated on a 130-acre (53-hectare) plot, 60 acres (24 hectares) of which grow spices, herbs, and fruits. Plants here include cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, peppers, cloves, curry ginger, and turmeric; cashews, Goa's most famous crop, are also processed at the farm. Although spices are the star attraction at Sahakari, there’s also a rustic restaurant here where meals are served in earthenware pots or from plates made from banana leaves.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear sunscreen and bug spray.
- This farm is great for families traveling with children.
- Wheelchair users may face accessibility issues here.
How to Get There
The farm is located in Ponda, an inland town situated about an hour’s drive southeast of Panaji or half an hour from Old Goa. It’s not easy to get here by public transit, and it's a bit far to walk to from the Ponda town center. Travelers who don't have their own means of transportation (such as a motorscooter) are best off taking a taxi or coming as part of an organized tour.
When to Get There
Sahakari Spice Farm is open to visitors every day from 9:30am to 4:30pm. As many spices can grow year round, there's no ideal time to visit, though the monsoon rains from June through September can turn an otherwise pleasant farm visit into a muddy experience. Arrive first thing in the morning to avoid the unrelenting midday heat.
Buying Indian Spices
Visitors to India often like to pick up spices as souvenirs to bring back to their food-obsessed friends, but with myriad sold in markets across the country it can be hard to know where to start. Safe bets include classics such as turmeric (haldi) or cardamom (elaichi), though many travelers prefer to purchase premade spice mixes, such as garam masala (literally “hot spices,” used in all sorts of dishes) or spices for making masala chai, India’s most famous tea.