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Our downright gorgeous True Cinnamon farm sits serene on a remote & mountainous hamlet named Medagalathura, in Sri Lanka’s Sabaragamuwa Province.

It is a small farm, yet so majestic - majestic is its terroir, its farming practices, its quality control processes & Mr Kumara’s passion to preserve his ancestral savour-faire of True Cinnamon. After my 2nd trip & visits to over 15 farms - I was convinced of the decision I had made, and the trust I had entrusted on this farm that is very dear to me.

Origin visit: March 2022, Sri Lanka

I recall my last day in Sri Lanka before flying back to Accra. I was staying in Galle for the night, which is about 3 hours down south from the farm. It was raining the entire night and I had woken up to the sounds of tempestuous thunderstorms. It was 5 am and I felt the urge to visit the farm one last time before leaving. Doubtful if I was making the right decision, as I had to reach Colombo for my flight that was scheduled for 6 pm that same evening. I called up Mr Kumara to ask him if it was raining in his village too & if I could visit him, my call went unanswered. I had to leave immediately if I were to make it to the farm and then on time to the airport which was another 3 hours away from Medagalathura. If I were to wait for him to return my call or wait for the rains to subside, I wouldn’t have made it to the farm before my departure. I left the hotel in Galle at 6:30 am with prayers in my mind and with a very hazy Plan B. A few kilometres after, I saw a rainbow, with some hope I carried on with the journey. Another few kilometres after, there was only sunshine and more hope. The driver too eased out a little bit and switched on the radio. The risk paid off. I made it to the farm on time ~ Mr Kumara came to pick me up at 9:30 am from the junction up to which my car can reach, I spent 3 hours at the farm before leaving for the airport at 1 pm, EXACTLY AS PLANNED guys! I mean what in life goes as per plan?

As you enter Mr Kumara’s farm, you will see True Cinnamon trees shining bright along the slopes of the mountain which then merges with government-owned forest land till as far as the eyes can see.

He was confused to see me, as I had already said my goodbye a day before. He asked me how much time do I have and if we could go for a quick hike, so we could see more cinnamon trees ~ to which I am always in & I get to worry him with even more questions as we walk up to the mountain.

What I saw along the route and as we reached the spot that he wanted me to see, was magical! I touched wood, yet again, for making the right choice of partnering with Mr Kumara. We crossed streams running across the surrounds of his land that gushed though the rocks, stopped by the stream to drink the most purest form of water with the help of a leaf that had fallen on the ground, hiked up the mountainous slopes that were filled with cinnamon leaves from the morning’s harvest, met a few workers along the way who were clearing up the land for planting some new cinnamon babies.

More than 15 farm visits & extensive industry research after, our Kandy ‘Heirloom’ Cinnamon was born

I did not hesitate to visit both big businesses and smallholder farmers growing/selling conventional cinnamon. When you know more and have seen all the aspects of the trade, you get to appreciate the partner farms even more. The supply-chain of big businesses goes like that - bales (21/42-inches long quills) of true cinnamon, from as less as 1 kilo to tonnes, are delivered at pickup points or warehouses of the big and mighty. Every farmer, trader, middlemen, neighbourhood uncle and aunties, schoolchildren trying to make some extra money by making quills during their spare time to literally anyone can bring in cinnamon bales and take their money depending on the quality (which is graded as per diameter, colour, density & appearance). In cases like these, don’t you ask the source of the produce! “The taste and flavours would vary?” I asked. “What taste?” I was asked back. “They are all True Cinnamon”.

Sulphur Rooms

Just like white wine, those sparkly golden raisins, dried apricots with their orange hue still intact & picture perfect ‘fresh’ grapes, cinnamon quills too are sulphur treated among many other food products!

Sulphur Dioxide is used as a fumigant, a food preservative & as a bleaching agent.

I saw ‘sulphur rooms’ where cinnamon quills are fumigated with sulphur dioxide, a process that makes the cinnamon quills look golden and spotless & thus, beautiful for the export market! Some companies even market their cinnamon quills as ‘Golden Cinnamon’. More golden their appearance, the better the consumer’s perception of a quality grade quill, just like most of us would pick apricots with their orange hue intact rather than those that have turned black, or Golden aka Sultana raisins that are preferred by some over others.

Our naturally grown & organic true cinnamon quills, ARE NOT fumigated with Sulphur Dioxide. Yes, you are welcome :)

I was also told by many company owners that quality control (apart from controlling the moisture levels and inspecting the outer appearance of the quills) is impossible, as it is simply not possible to open up the quills to check the quality of quillings (small pieces of the peeled bark) that are being used to fill the quills. Quite obvious, as the most important aspect of growing the true cinnamon trees and more importantly the ancient tradition of handcrafting the barks into quills have been outsourced by them.

& then here is Mr Kumara, who travels 2 hours every morning from his home to the farm, to spend time monitoring the peelers’ work, alongside the farm that he manages & the nursery where he tends his family’s heirlooms ~ True Cinnamon saplings. He knows that one of the peeler named Shanth, sleeps an extra hour and also needs some extra push to make not better but the best quality quills, while Neelanth does his best without much supervision. I saw that too. Shanth started work much later, the last day when I was there in the morning :)

As with the norm with natural farming practices, the yield is much lower than those in conventional farms.

When I ask Mr Kumara, he tells me this:

“I am able to export all the cinnamon that I currently grow, I have a family of 3, I own 2 cars and I have the most loyal & hard working skilled artisans for peeling the cinnamon. I am happy with what I have. Chasing yields & profits at the cost of destroying the Mother Earth is not worth the time. I am a 4th generation farmer & if I were to feed the soil with chemicals, I am afraid that my children will not be able to carry forward our family legacy.”

Indigenous Origins

Heirloom Varieties

Timeless Ingredients

Zoom kandy ‘heirloom’ cinnamon
Zoom kandy ‘heirloom’ cinnamon
Zoom kandy ‘heirloom’ cinnamon

Kandy Cinnamon

£12.50
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Slender & brittle in texture, sophisticated & subtle in taste. Our hand~crafted quills are rolled with gently scraped & peeled tender barks of the Cinnamomum Verum or True Cinnamon tree. 
Flavour your rum or whiskey for an added sophistication or infuse in tea for detox & healing. Sprinkle over Apple tarts, pair Cinnamon with Nutmeg in your French toasts or make aromatic curries. Our Kandy Heirloom Cinnamon quills are for the discerning home cooks, chefs & lovers of gastronomy.

October 2021

The farm sits atop a mountainous hamlet in Ratnapura District, undisturbed & pristine.
As you look farther, the sight of lush & evergreen True Cinnamon trees merges with forest land, with indigenous King Coconut trees (known as Thæmbili) being the only obstruction to the eye. From a distant, the synchronised movements of skilled artisans scraping & peeling delicate cinnamon barks sound like a symphony. Tender barks are harvested early morning, the outer bark is gently scraped, hand-peeled & elegantly rolled into quills ~ nothing less than a piece of art we’d say ~ by craftsmen & women using age-old traditions that have been passed on for generations. The quills are slow dried under the shade, naturally.

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