The Juicy Watermelons of Utorda

By on March 17, 2015
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One of the first villages in Goa to grow watermelons, Utorda remains famous for this delicious fruit, though much has changed in the way it is grown and not all the changes have been for the better

Agostin Cardoz and his sister leave the comfort of their home in the south Goan village of Utorda early, the dew still glistening in the sun’s rays. Though their field is nearby, they take quite a while to reach it as the old pathways are blocked by compound walls. 

Finally they reach a vast sea of greens – chillies, beans, turnips and onions. They reach their bandi – the small plots demarcated by low earthen ridges, and there, lying in the field are hundreds of juicy, green, basketball-sized watermelons – just waiting to be plucked!

“Any fruit has to be picked early, before the sun is really high, as they are rich with sap. Besides, once the sun gets high, it is too hot to work. So we begin early,” says Agostin. They pluck the watermelons and pile them on the edge of the fields. All the work makes Agostin hungry. He picks up a watermelon and with a chop of his hand, breaks it open. Then he eats it ravenously, seeds and all, juice flowing down his lips. 

Within minutes, the watermelon disappears and Agostin carefully packs up the skin in a paper. “If the skin and any seeds litter the field, it will attract crows and other birds who tend to destroy the neighbour’s watermelons, so we are very careful to carry back any leftovers and dispose it at a distance from the fields,” he explains.

Read the full article in 'Viva Goa' magazine copy.
Viva Goa magazine is now on stands. Available at all major book stalls and supermarkets in Goa.

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