When was the last time you slept under the stars, ate a meal made with freshly plucked vegetables from the farm or spent an entire day sitting in the midst of trees with no mobile network to disturb you? Around 125 kms away from Mumbai, in a small town called Roha, a farm offers all this and more. Madhuban Agritainment is located about 5 km drive away from the main Roha city and is a beautiful location to spend a quiet weekend and detox (physical, mental and digital).
The 50 acre farm owned by Dhananjay Joshi, the third generation farmer, is completely organic. Joshi took a conscious decision to convert his farm in 2006 when his father died of Aesophagus cancer and realised that pesticides used in farming are the major culprit. Joshi grows all kinds of seasonal vegetables, fruits, millets along with mango, rice, cashew and kokum – the major crops of the Konkan region. The farm houses a cowshed which takes care of the compost and also provides organic milk. A man-made pond in the farm harvests rainwater and is also used for prawns and fish farming, none of which is on the menu (the food here is completely vegetarian).
Our days here were spent just lying on the charpai in the verandah, having multiple cups of chai, roaming around the farm and learning about each and every tree from Mr Joshi or just taking naps. There’s barely any network connection in the farm so I would suggest that you take a book along or better still, just spend some time with yourself.
The farm has two rooms as of now; Joshi has plans to build a few more rooms and also provide tents. The food is cooked by Joshi’s wife who ensures that you get authentic Maharashtrian food from the Konkan region. In season, all the vegetables practically come straight from the farm giving you a pure farm-to-table experience. During our two day stay we were served thalipeeth – Maharashtrian multigrain flat bread (flour for which is prepared at home) with home churned white butter; rice bhakri with dal, bharli vangi (stuffed brinjal) and jhunka; home made karanji, chivda, chakli and laddoo (because it was Diwali) and misal. Our every meal was accompanied with a different chutney – mirchi thecha, roasted peanuts with curd, roasted powdered dal with curd, simple coconut and more.
On the eve of Diwali, we got to try Popati – the very local and rustic bbq of Konkan region. Popati is a winter dish when Vaal or field beans are in season. A clay pot is lined with bhamburdi leaves and filled with spiced and salted vaal beans, whole potatoes, whole onions, corn, peanuts etc. The pot is then packed with the leaves, covered with hay, dried leaves etc. and set on fire. Once the vegetables are cooked, the contents of the pot are emptied out and eaten with fresh coconut. The bhamburdi leaves, known for their high medicinal value, impart a lovely earthy aroma to the vegetables. While we tried the vegetarian popati, there’s a non-vegetarian version too where chicken is marinated, wrapped in foils and placed inside the pot.
Places to see around Roha – Buddhist Caves of Kuda, Avchitgad Fort near Medhe Village, Murud Janjira too is around 25 kms away from the farm
What to bring back from Roha – Desi cow ghee, thalipeeth flour, metkoot from Madhuban Farm; this is the season when new rice is in the market so bring back freshly made pohe (the taste is beautiful with a hint of sweetness).
Address: Madhuban Agritainment, Roha
Contact: 095455 51898
E-mail id: email@example.com
Room Charges: Rs 1000/night
Meal Charges: Rs 500 per person per day (includes breakfast, lunch, dinner and morning and evening tea)
Popati: Rs 500