Goa has over 55,000 hectares of area under Cashew Plantations. The cashew crop is cultivated in Goa every year. Cashew trees flower in January-February and the nuts mature by April-May making it a seasonal fruit. The hilly Talukas such as Canacona are known for cashew plantations where entire hills are dedicated to cashew plantations with arecanut plantations in the valleys (also called kulagars – more on this in a later post)
Around May the fruit bearing nuts fall to the ground and collection is done by the locals during this season. Most owners auction out large areas of land under cashew plantation to middle man who employ daily wage labourers to collect the nuts. The nuts are dried in the drying yards for 2 to 3 days and packed in gunny bags and auctioned off for further processing and packaging. Salted and roasted nuts which are enjoyed all over the world and constitute an important source of foreign exchange to the goan economy
Another important byproduct is Feni which is cashew juice fermented into alcohol. The cashew feni is sold in Goan bars and taverns. The extraction of cashew feni is quite similar to that of toddy extraction in palm, the first fermentation giving urrack, while the second distillation producing the required alcoholic Feni.