Want to experience a cosy farm tourism spot in Kerala? Head to Poovaranthode

Vinod and Jisha’s ‘Dream Acres’ has been classified in the ‘Diamond’ category by the Kerala Government’s Tourism Department. Photo: Manorama

Misty mornings, verdant valleys and the perpetually cool weather even during the sweltering summer make the picturesque countryside of Poovaranthode in Kozhikode a desirable destination to visit during the holidays. Moviegoers may be familiar with the beautiful locales here as blockbuster films like ‘Kappela’ and Prakashan Prakatte were shot at Poovaranthode. As you climb uphill, past the Urumi waterfalls, you will forget your woes and your mind will be filled with pure joy and tranquillity.

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Vinod Edamana, a native of Kadameri in Vadakara, resigned from his government job in UAE and came to Poovaranthode with his wife Jisha, seeking a place to live peacefully. They were overwhelmed by the beautiful natural environment in the village and believed that this was the best place to nurture their love for organic farming. They are now the proud owners of a successful farm tourism business besides earning a fair income from their organic farm products.

Vinod and Jisha’s ‘Dream Acres’ has been classified in the ‘Diamond’ category by the Kerala Government’s Tourism Department. Kerala Tourism has introduced classifications to ensure certain standards and quality for the homestay tourism industry in the state. The Diamond category is the highest classification given to homestays that fulfil all the essential criteria.

The nutmeg capital
Poovaranthode is often hailed as the nutmeg capital of Kozhikode district. The soil is so fertile and contains enough moisture to sustain acres of nutmeg farms. Vinod and Jisha migrated to the fertile lands of Poovaranthode to reap success in the farm tourism industry. After completing his education, Vinod Edavana worked at FACT in Ernakulam and the Refineries in Mangalore before landing a job at Abu Dhabi National Oil Company owned by the UAE government. He worked there for around two decades.

However, Vinod’s dream was to purchase a few acres of land at a beautiful and peaceful place in Kozhikode and to do organic farming. Meanwhile, Vinod visited many lands at Kodencherry and Kakkadampoyil with an intention to purchase them. However, he didn’t have to think twice before purchasing the ten acres of land at Poovaranthode, in April, as he had found his perfect place. He soon built a house here using some of his savings. He began growing a few cows before trying his hands in organic farming. Soon, his organic farming became successful with the help of the people in the locality.

Farm to homestay
Vinod and Jisha grew nutmeg, coffee, cardamom and many other varieties of crops here. They made their own concoction of organic manure using cow dung and its urine. The couple decided to turn their house into a homestay as they wanted everyone to enjoy the enchanting beauty of their farm.

They studied the guidelines of the tourism department carefully before embarking on this exciting journey. As per the rules, the owner should live in at least one room in the house. Besides, the guests should have the opportunity to dine with them and experience their lifestyle too. Vinod built two rooms at his house for the guests. He then applied to the tourism department for evaluation. Their homestay was classified in the ‘Diamond’ category as they had fulfilled all the 125 criteria prescribed by the tourism department.

Besides, they even built a cosy mud house using the mud that was removed while building a pond for fish farming. The mud was turned into blocks and the walls were constructed using these. The walls were then plastered using mud. Rope charpoys have been used in this mud house. Moreover, the interiors of this mud house remain cool and comfortable even during the harsh summers.

Squash, syrup, candies, pickles and more
At Poovaranthode, the nutmeg farmers have formed an association. Vinod and Jisha proposed a few ideas about making value-added products from nutmeg at one of the meetings. They contacted the Indian Institute of Spices Research in Moozhikkal to learn the technology of preserving nutmeg shells. At IISR, they even learned how to make squash, syrup, candies and pickles using nutmeg. Meanwhile, Jisha completed a certificate course from the State Institute of Hospitality Management in traditional cooking techniques. The women in the locality, who are employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme, often help Jisha in making value-added products from nutmeg shells, in the evenings after returning from their jobs.

Moreover, the couple took membership in the Kerala Agri Tourism Network which was formed as part of the responsible tourism scheme by Kerala Tourism. The tourists who stay at Dream Acres can live with their families and experience the joys of village life. They can see and enjoy the cow farm, fish pond and organic farming as part of the farm tourism. They can even spend a few days in the mud house.

Farm tourism project
Interestingly, in July last year, Dream Acres became the venue for the district-level inauguration of the farm tourism project envisioned by the Kozhikode District Panchayat. The project was inaugurated by Tourism Minister PA Muhammad Riyas. Besides, the farmers who came for training at the Agricultural Information and Sales Centre in Vengeri had visited Dream Acres as part of their course criteria to visit a farm tourism spot. 

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