The Pimenta Bungalows
Haritha Farm has been in the Mathew family since 1962. Located in the Kerala midlands, the land was at one time the natural environment of fruit trees and spice crops. By the time the Mathews arrived, it had been transformed, like so many homestead forest gardens, into a rubber plantation. Aware of the detrimental effects monocultures have on the environment, the family began making efforts to reverse the farm’s fate and conserve the biodiversity of the region. By the early 90s, sustainable farming techniques had been implemented, the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers discontinued and the rubber trees removed. Since then, the family has established a lush forest garden that boasts a wide variety of crops and medicinal plants, preserving both the environment and the recipes typical to the region.
Since they first opened their gates to day-visitors in 1992, the Mathews have endeavoured to provide an alternative to mass tourism. Encouraged by the farms popularity, they began providing accommodation – first in the main house and later in The Pimenta, the detached bungalows that exist today – establishing themselves as pioneers in eco-agro-tourism in Southern India and developing a model for economically viable eco-farming. Today, continuing the traditional farming system, thodi, the garden boasts coconuts, pineapples and bananas; yam and cassava; spices, such as pepper, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric and vanilla; and medicinal herbs. It is in this rare setting that you can genuinely experience the culture and flavour of Kerala, undisturbed by the usual tourism nuisances and feel proud to practice sustainable, responsible tourism.
The name Pimenta originates from the Portuguese for black pepper. It was adopted in the 14th Century to refer to the area in which Haritha Farm resides after explorer Vasco de Gama discovered what is now considered to be the home of the world’s best quality pepper.