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In Emerald town

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A lady in the market commented on Mrs.Kulkarni, as to why she had to go and buy vegetables every day when she had a new refrigerator at home, to which Mrs.Kulkarni replied, “because they are available”.

This reminded me of the famous George Mallory quote upon being asked why he climbed Mount Everest, “Because it’s there!”

In Belagavi, it’s as simple as that. The vegetable box in our refrigerators will be half empty because most of the stuff is on the kitchen platform…in use…now!

With truckloads of fresh stuff being ferried into the city every day, why should we stock up on the greens by suffocating them in zipper plastic bags?

vegetable-seller-market
PC: Narsinha Joshi

Belagavi is blessed with fertile soil and the resplendent emeralds that abound the fields stand testimony to the fact. A large number of vegetables are grown around the city that feeds the city folks. This way, we also manage to fade the carbon footprint by consuming local produce.

Sambra, Balekundri to the East, Yallur to the North, Kudchi , Bagewadi to the South and Uchgaon, Ambewadi area to the West, all green lands producing innumerable vegetables. A lush green coriander bunch grown between lines of other major veggies, is available today at Rs. 5. Cluster beans (gavari), French Beans, cabbage ( you can see beautiful rosettes of the vegetable on the way to Sulebhavi), Cauliflower (find them near Hindalga, Sulga, Ambewadi), Red Amaranth( Lal Bhaji), Dil (Shepu), Methi, Beet, Radish, carrots, all jostle for the consumer’s attention at the market.

Like school children being ferried to school, these vegetables smilingly arrive in gunny bags or sometimes neatly stacked together with chords, atop a Tata Ace or tiny rickshaws or those unique-looking three-wheelers with a strange handles.

vegetables

The vegetable markets in Belagavi still have that old-worldly charm. Be it the Ganpat Galli- Raviwar Peth mega market ( where vendors refuse to sell you potatoes or onion in half Kg. portions), the Shahapur market in Dane Galli fed by the Vadgaon-Yellur produce, the Tilakwadi market (near first railway gate) which now bears somewhat a barren look after the VKS demolition spree, the Khanapur Road shanties relocated inside towards the Gokhale Maruti temple, the Sunday Market of Khasbag and the Shaniwar Khut area, known for the second-grade stuff, almost always left over from the Saturday markets. The shops and vendors near Kelkar Bag (where a lady always relents to bargains and many times staves off the tiny chiller from your account, incurring loss to herself!) which again bear the brunt of the VKS , the area around Shani Mandir right up to Kapileshwar, all attract with the lushness of the greenery.

belgaum vegetables1
Photo: Prasad Parmaj

Small shops have sprouted in Channamma Nagar, Chidambar Nagar, Vijaynagar, Club Road and Hindwadi that flaunt veggies like they have been blanched or ….assaulted!

The tiny peas (watanyachya shenga) are a specialty of Belagavi and these sellers are found clustered around Shahapur Khade Bazaar area, Nargundkar Bhave chowk; so is the luscious green cucumber ( Kakdi…not kheera).

Belagavi also gets its greens from Gokak (special Aubergines/ Brinjals) Ghataprabha (coriander, snake gourds (padwal), bitter gourds (karela), Lauki, etc. )

vegetable belgaum1

Chilies of varied hues of green, the kadipatta that smells of tadka even in the market, jawari garlic ( we also get the jumbo Chinese variety which is tasteless) and other masala items are sold in bunches even today. You get a fistful ( depending on who is selling, a man or a woman, you benefit the more) of the same for as low as Rs. 5. Thin skinned Lemons are available for 4/Rs. 10 even in the heat of summer. Another summer delight that is still visible is the watermelon that ruled the city for 3 months. The Light Green Yellur variety cost us Rs. 25 each while the Emerald Green Bangalore ones came cheaper for around the same cost but in a bigger size. A vendor in Raviwar peth specializes in all kinds of tubers, some of whose names even I have to ask him!

Although Belagavi now has Reliance Fresh, More outlets that sell veggies, the citizens still prefer to walk down the lane and buy the fresh stuff. Even if it means grabbing a shopping bag every two days. For didn’t Mrs.Kulkarni say…Because they are available!

25 thoughts on “In Emerald town”

  1. preety good we have been blessed with fresh vegitables but even we have local produce the prices rarely goes down,thanks to dalals of vegitables and fruits(who calls themself as commission agents-already have become rich) our city is also in race for big cities,stuffs are becoming costlier so do we have any advanatge of having agricultural belt ?? the price difference is very slim compared to other cities

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  2. Hi Sawtee excellent writing… Belgaum is anouxious I been to US, I been to South east asia(Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippine)But I didn’t find place like belgaum where you get all the best of best things…Veggies to the affordable street food’s from Sweets to awful evening snacks from best weather to nice people (be it Kannada, Marathi or Muslim) they are unique in their own way… Its fortunate that I born in such multi cultured land where being Kannada spoken at home I can speak excellent Marathi and Hindi…I

    want my belgaum to grow but not sacrificing its beauty its nonsense, I want it to be modern but not at the cost of inhumanity I want to see industries been set up but not taking toll on farmers and poor people, I want to see people come from other state to work in Belgaum as we go in search of job outside belguam.. I want my belgaum to be the best in India!
    I guess you Missed to mention one Market which sets up every Saturday near to bus stand to be precise (Kotwal Galli

    Mi Belgaum cha.. Belgaum maza… na kannada cha na marathi cha belgaum bagaounkarancha!

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    • excellent write up and good comments vijay ,dont worry belgaum will be leading place in india soon .let its natural beauty be p[reserved alwsys

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  3. Lovely lovely green – just reminds me the poem. Need to mention that the rare real mushrooms being bought by the villagers which do sell like hot cakes at Nargundkar Bhave chowk do taste too good & are available during the monsoon season. We need to thank the farmers & soil of Belgaum for the organically grown vegetables & to preserve the taste/seeds we need some good dedicated seed bank.

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  4. Aaamchi Belgaavi , Namma Belgaon …….Not lanagauge its our heart which is for Belgaumites , Thankyou Swatee for a extraordinary writeup … u have touche the heart beat and sense of Belgaum

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    • Satish Kumar,
      Your Punchline may bring in communal harmony.I liked couple of your thoughts of Socialism also w.r.t VKS Bus article. I don't know about others,but believe that, this kind of an attitude amongst all groups will ensure better future for us & brethren of our Sweet Town. Many Belgaumites are of the opinion that, people from our Capital cities and other States are taking advantage of differences (if any).

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  5. Excellent paragraph penned by Swati, Thanks …. loved it as we nrbs ( non residential belgaumites ) miss these veggies so much…

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  6. Nice article! But remind you the chemical fertilizers poured on to grow cabbage(gobi), palak, cauli flower and navalcon (xuse me for the spell) are bread grounds for many deceases like kidney stones. The veg grown arround Belgaon is first sent to Hyderabad, Mumbai, Goa and other places by dalal's for higher prices and residual is opened for the Belgaum market. By the way how about the farm lady vendors shouting in front of yr home and vending at Gondhali galli corner, Kotwal galli apart from shapur & vadgaon

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  7. good job swatee …..may god bless you excellent way of communication ……………

    kharacha mazya aiecha hathacha zhunka athavan alllllaaa

    thanks once again

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  8. Green and fresh Vegetables is one of the reason I miss belgaum.I recalled all the old memories ,like going to market with mom for vegetables .The article is really gud ,you have just not left anything about Belgaum food resources .Good well done

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  9. Our Azam nagar vegetable market soothes my eyes n soul..a stroll in this market is more relaxing than in a garden..I go buying the vegetables like crazy …yes it’s an emerald town..very well said…hamare is hare bhare seher ko Nazar na lag Jaye ….proud of my emerald town…

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    • No harm in exaggerating as we’re all humans, mate. I’m from Belgaum, lived in Pune more than my hometown and right now- I live in Perth, Australia. To me- our roots play a significant role. You cherish your Hometown, Motherland only when you’re away from it. I know and have come across haters who crib a lot about India. I used to-once upon a time be the same. But later in life- you miss the essence of childhood. God bless.

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  10. Swati Mam thanks for such beautiful narration, I am working in UAE last ten years and I miss the fresh and yummy veggies of my town. Mostly the Bhajis (Methi, Lal, Shepu. Palak) a lot. Hope my CO. canctions my leave and I will be at home to enjoy the Veggies from my emerald town……

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  11. Can’t understand why people living abroad keep missing the veggies sold on the roadside in an unhygenic manner! There’s definitely hometown love for a whole lot of other reasons – people, food, school , college etc but walking into an AC grocery store and buying veggies that have been tested for certain standards in US, is preferable any day.

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  12. These kinds of posts always make us nostalgic and bring us close to smell of our soil.. This is farm to fork or farm to table, fresh and neat. Some precaution has to be practiced with everything that is sold starting from how to pick to how to cook. Coming from Gokak and having studied and worked in Belgaum I always looked for Sun grown and plant/tree ripe produce (fresh vegetables and fruits are called produce in the USA) from Gokak. The taste of small cucumber, watermelon hard to find anywhere in the world. However, with the extensive use of pesticides/herbicides, these are turning out to be harmful. So like someone says consumer awareness is important. Wash/soak the veggies in salt water. Even better, soak and wash it with mild forms of home made vegetable cleaners. They are two kinds one made with vinegar and water (1 cup of vinegar and 4 cups of water). Vinegar is the most proven preservative around the globe. Another one made with lemon and soda (1 tbs lemon juice, 1 tbs baking soda and 1 cup water). Who does not know as an Indian or a person of Indian origin, the antiseptic values of lemon and soda? You can find more ways on the internet.
    Do your best and leave the rest to the almighty. Enjoy the fresh produce.
    One word – Do not kill the local farmers, ban the products like pesticides/herbicides.

    One most important request – Please DO NOT bargain with those people especially women who carry loads of vegetables in crowded public transportation and who sit in the hot Sun or rain selling these. Make it a habit to encourage them with additional tips.
    If we can change ourselves and our consumerism, businesses and governments will change automatically.

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  13. Fresh vegetable adds life to our life span. Belgaum area is blessed with a rich hinterland, sufficient water resources, and hard-working citizens.

    Reply

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