The onset of winter is also the season of avarekai (hyacinth beans) to celebrate which a 4-day avarekai mela will be held from December 22 to 25 at Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry in the city.
It is being organised by Sahaja Samruddha – an NGO advocating organic farming and conserving indigenous varieties of paddy, millets etc – which said that there is an inexplicable relationship between avarekai and people of old Mysuru region as they tend to associate it with mouth-watering dishes made out of this seasonal crop.
.K. Komal Kumar, convenor of Sahaja Samruddha, said that the mela will provide information on benefits of avarekai for both the cultivators and consumers apart from showcasing a diverse array of culinary delights and recipes of avarekai. This includes avarekai uppittu, avare bisibele bath, avare roti, mudde,-chitagavare, avare palav, etc all of which will also be displayed and sold at the mela. There will also be additional information on health benefits of avareka apart from the array of dishes that can be cooked, he added.
Describing avare as one of the native crops cultivated as part of crop diversity, Krishnaprasad of Sahaja Samruddha said the prominence given to commercial crops has resulted in avare being sidelined. There is a need for an effort to promote this nutritious crop and hence the mela, he added.
There will also be a cooking competition using avarekai on December 25 and dishes prepared at home using avarekai, should be brought to the contest which will be held at noon and prizes and certificates of appreciation will be awarded to those who prepare special dishes.
This apart, the mela will have an exhibition and sale of neglected crops with value addition provided by 10 farmer groups from H.D. Kote, Periyapatna and Hunsur.
.G.K. Pratapa, one of the cultivators, said that farmers’ preference to cultivate commercial crops has led to the gradual disappearance of avarekai. However, its cultivation was imperative as part of crop diversification to enhance the fertility of the land and to provide food security to the family, he said.