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Coimbatore-based keeraikadai.com launches cookies made with greens

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Coimbatore-based keeraikadai.com that has won a grant from the Tamil Nadu Government for innovations in greens has launched cookies formulated with vallarai, insulin spinach, guava leaves, tulsi and ashwagandha

Coimbatore-based keeraikadai.com that has won a grant from the Tamil Nadu Government for innovations in greens has launched cookies formulated with vallarai, insulin spinach, guava leaves, tulsi and ashwagandha

“It is a perfect blend of sweet choco chips and sour avarampoo powder,” says G Sriram Prasad about Greeny Crunch, a new range of cookies formulated with greens like vallarai, insulin spinach, guava leaves, tulsi and ashwagandha. Sriram, the founder and CEO of keeraikadai.com, was in Chennai recently to receive the Tamil Nadu Startup Grant Fund from Chief Minister MK Stalin for re-inventing traditional greens, and introducing them to the modern diet as value-added products in the form of ready-to-drink soups and meals.

“From over 900 startups, 31 were shortlisted drawn from segments like agriculture, climate action and livelihood. During the TANSEED 3.0 event in Chennai, we had displayed our products and the Tamil Nadu CM visited our stall and inquired about the greeny dips. He later tweeted about it. It was a great moment for us,” says Sriram whose five-year-old start up thrives on the philosophy of ‘food as medicine’ and has revived over 100 varieties of native greens such as aadathodai, thavasi, dill, to name a few. With his roots in Madurai and a farming background, Sriram is inspired by organic farming pioneer G Nammalvar’s natural farming methods and trained as an organic agriculturist at Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU).

G Sriram Prasad, founder and CEO of keeraikadai.com
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

As an incubatee at the TBI (Technology Business Incubator) of TNAU, Sriram networks with 500 organic farmers in the Theni belt to source the greens for cookies. While the bitter guava leaves worked well with coconut cookies, the tartness of ashwagandha achieved a fine balance in almond cookies, other greens like tulsi and insulin tasted best with plain cookies. “To keep the nutrient profile of the bright yellow avarampoo flowers intact, the flowers are dried in shade. Theni is suited for growing greens because of the pleasant weather. There is sunshine and copious rains through the year.”

Every three months, he sources close to two tonnes of greens from 30 farmers in the region, hand-picked after several rounds of farm visits. The prerequisites that he looks for are fertile soil, good source of water, and natural manure.

He distributes country seeds among the farmers and buys back the produce from them. “Our focus is wild greens that grow in their natural habitat. We also pick farms that come with a solar drying unit to cut down on logistics. The dried greens sent to our warehouse in Madurai are later despatched to the Cookieman unit at Ambattur where the cookies are infused with spinach in dust form as toppings. The products are tested at NABL labs for nutritious contents. The products can be ordered online on keeraikadai.com from anywhere in the world.”

Sriram came up with the idea of cookies so that children consume greens every day in some form, as a healthy snack. He takes children on regular field trips to farms. “That’s how you initiate them to building a green revolution. They should know where the food they eat comes from. We also give away free keerai seeds to grow in their backyard.”

Greeny crunch cookies on display at keeraikadai.com, an e-commerce company in Coimbatore

Greeny crunch cookies on display at keeraikadai.com, an e-commerce company in Coimbatore
| Photo Credit: PERIASAMY M

Sriram says interactions with farmers introduced them to native greens. “There are as many as 500 varieties. Punarvava or mookirrattai is known to support the liver. It is grown by farmers in the Coimbatore belt. We take inspiration from Siddha medicine and re-introduce the greens backed by scientific knowledge. There is thavasi known for high protein content, bora packed with Vitamin B 12, and red and green amaranthus. Siriyanangai that works as an insect repellant, to name a few.While some are edible, some are used in external application for healing. Guava leaves is set to become a super food, like moringa. We have them in plenty right in our backyard.”



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