Planters Treasure Gourmet Passion Fruit and Nutmeg Products Are Rooted In Simplicity

Planters Treasure Gourmet Passion Fruit and Nutmeg Products Are Rooted In Simplicity
Planters Treasure

I don’t know if it is a Malayali experience or just my personal experience of growing up in Kerala, but nutmeg trees grew abundantly in both my maternal ancestral home and my home. Whenever people speak of nutmeg, I don’t think of the aroma of the nutmeg seed or mace (the bright red seed covering) in a dish. I think of raw nutmeg fruits and cutting it open and dipping it in salt like one would with raw mangoes, and savouring every little bite. I didn’t realise it was a fleeting, personal experience until much later, as with most good things in life. 

My mother told me that she had tried nutmeg Jam in the 80s when she visited the tourist location of Kallar and I was fascinated by the notion of nutmeg fruits being turned into jams and preserves. Little did I know that people were already doing just that, just a few hours away from my home city of Kochi. Planters Treasure is a brand from Kerala that creates gourmet passion fruit and nutmeg products, including preserves. The brand has taken the beloved nutmeg fruit and shell and made the most of it. However, the nutmeg fruit preserve (with the shell and all), as well as passion fruit preserves (again, shells included) are the latest offerings from the farm-first enterprise. It was quite interesting to me, to know that these products were essentially the result of the brand’s attempt to ensure no part of the produce they use goes to waste. 

Established in 2014, Planters Treasure is a venture staying true to the quote ‘Do few things, but do them well.’ The single-origin Passion fruit and nutmeg products from the brand are limited to concentrates, juices and now preserves. Until recently, the shells of passion fruit and the outer fruit of the nutmeg were both going unutilised, until they came up with the spreads, after being 2 years in the making. Carefully handpicked from a set of managed estates in Idukki, the brand was founded by entrepreneur Joppu Sebastian. When speaking to Homegrown, he mentioned how the rich soil and high altitude of the highly fertile locale that is even recognised by UNESCO is a factor in the impeccable quality of their products. 

Planters Treasure Gourmet Passion Fruit and Nutmeg Products Are Rooted In Simplicity
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Located in Nellimattom at the foothills of Munnar, the production for Planters Treasure is largely a women-operated venture. Many of the people that work in the Planters Treasure factory are those who had worked with the founder's father's plantation at one time. Despite being in the industry for over a decade, the brand has not been in any hurry to scale up distribution or expand offerings. But with the intentional approach of doing the few things they do incredibly well, Planters Treasure has become recognised and loved by people from all over the world. According to Joppu Sebastian, the brand mainly has four major customer bases. “We are currently selling our products to hotels/restaurants that use them in dishes, cafes that use them in drinks and dishes or feature in their space, bars that use them in cocktails and of course, the retail customers,” he says.

Planters Treasure Gourmet Passion Fruit and Nutmeg Products Are Rooted In Simplicity
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One of the biggest takeaways from the brand’s profile is its dedication to being mindful - from taking a fair pricing and cooperative structure with regard to sourcing to ensuring a zero-waste approach with production. Through their contract farming approach, the brand ensures that the farmers remain unaffected by market changes and fluctuations when working with them. The brand’s resolution to reduce their carbon footprint extends to even transporting their raw material by public transportation from estate to factory, and mechanising only 10% of the manufacturing process. The close attention paid to handpicking the best of the crop, and ensuring the products are made by hand, the brand is an exemplification of what it means to be ‘gourmet.’ While ours might have been a quick chat over the phone and not an extensive interview, there was one thing that Joppu Sebastian mentioned that I quickly wrote down and is the best way to describe them. He said, “We make products that are made almost 90% by hand. After all, only hands can bring food to life, not machines.”

You can follow Planters Treasure here.