Rediscover India’s native rice varieties at this zero waste store in Coimbatore


Vilvah Agro, a zero waste store in Coimbatore, showcases over 40 different varieties of rice from various states across the country

Some of India’s Valuable Native Rice Varieties – parakkum chittu, ilupai poo samba and Rajamudi – call out to visitors to Vilvah Agro, a new zero waste store in Coimbatore. Curious, visitors head to the rice section, where varieties are stored in tall glass boxes.

“This is our goal – to get people talking about native rice varieties,” says Kruthika Kumaran, founder of Vilvah which stocks more than 40 native white, brown, red and black rice grains, including Athur. samba kichili, hand-pounded raw rice, poongar and thooyamalli.

Traditionally, each variety of rice was used for specific purposes depending on the growing season or climate. While some varieties like kuzhiyadichan can withstand drought, the kattuyanam grows by providing sufficient hay for forage.

Read also | Are your staple rice and wheat losing their nutrients?

The Vilvah Agro store in the racetrack stocks up to 59 native varieties of rice in Coimbatore

Vilvah Agro store in the racetrack stocks up to 59 indigenous varieties of rice in Coimbatore | Photo credit: Siva Saravanan S / L’Hindou

“Each strain brings uniqueness and health benefits to the table. There are short grains, long grains and aromatic grains. the paal kudaivazhai, as the name suggests, benefits nursing mothers, while Rajamudi rice (a variety from Karnataka favored by Wodeyar kings) improves bone strength, and thooyamalli, a short grain white rice rich in fiber, controls blood sugar. Grains have a relatively lower glycemic index and a rich micronutrient profile. ”

Pack a punch of kindness

  • “The traditional varieties of white, brown, red and black rice can be eaten by anyone, including adults with lifestyle-related diseases like diabetes and hypertension, and children,” says Vidya Lal, a nutritionist. based in Chennai.
  • “Rich in protein, iron and fiber, grains fill even in small portions. Karuppu kavuni, which has a sticky texture, is now used to make sushi. Soon we will be able to see native grains in food fusion experiments, ”Vidya adds. The long cooking time is a disadvantage. The grains should be soaked overnight or five to six hours before cooking.

Passion for agriculture

Kruthika and her husband Tamil Kumaran come from an agricultural background. “We have never consumed store-bought rice. We buy them from our farms, but they are mostly hybrids. As an experiment, we have started growing karuppu kavuni, a favorite variety in Tamil Nadu, at our 40-acre farm in Gobichettipalayam, near Coimbatore. Now we have added about 15 varieties.

Read also | Know the different types of heritage rice across India

The couple also network with more than 15 farmers across India to source indigenous varieties, such as Dehradun basmati rice or Bihar Katarni. Currently, the store offers seven varieties of fragrant rice like the mullan kaima from Wayanad, Kerala, which is used to make Malabar flavored biryani. the samba vellai milagu cultivated in Tamil Nadu and parts of Sri Lanka has grains that resemble pepper. And the aromatic Gandhasaale cultivated in Wayanad which gives off a heavenly scent.

Kruthika says many traditional varieties are disappearing because farmers have stopped saving seeds. “We want to continue this heritage by saving native seeds. This can happen when consumers try various varieties encouraging farmers to grow them. ”

Hand-woven vetiver-based shoes on display at the Vilvah store at Race Course in Coimbatore

Hand-woven vetiver-based shoes on display in the Vilvah store at Coimbatore Racecourse | Photo credit: Siva Saravanan S / L’Hindou

Country life

Agro is the latest addition to Vilvah, the parent brand specializing in organic skin and hair care products.

“We have an organized collection of products such as yoga mats, herbal dyed towels and hand-woven vetiver shoes under Vilvah Life. We work with rural communities who make natural dyes in Dindigul and jamakkalam weavers in Bhavani and Komarapalayam. An in-house NIFT design team supports creative ideas.

There are plans to transform the store into a rice museum. “We already have heritage walking teams visiting the store to learn about the history. We want to encourage people to eat these grains. Since cooking these varieties takes time, they can start by using red rice to make idli, adai or dosa batter.

Prices start at 85 and go all the way up to 500 for varieties like bamboo rice. For details, visit or call 8110013553.

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