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Winter sets-in, demand for chestnuts on rise in Kashmir Sellers doing brisk business

Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar Oct 22 (KINS): Demand for chestnuts has increased with the onset of winter season in Kashmir, with locals and tourists relishing its taste and for nutritional value.

While many tourists say, they have seen and eaten chestnuts for the first time, the sellers of this fruit in the meantime are doing a brisk business.

The fruit is climbing the popularity not only in Kashmir, but also in many parts of the world because of its high nutritional value, low availability and sweet taste.

“We have not seen such a kind of fruit before. These are very tasty and we will be taking chestnuts back home with us for our friends and relatives,” said Harish Kumar, a tourist from Gujarat.

Another tourist from Kolkatta, Nitish Singh, told news agency KINS, “I had only heard about this fruit but luckily I got a chance to eat it now. I have come to Kashmir many times before and I would usually take back almonds and nuts but this time I have decided to take chestnuts for my family.”

Firdous Ahmad, a customer said that the chestnuts are in great demand during the winters as it helps people to keep their bodies warm.

“There are two varieties of chestnuts, one that grows under the floating leaves and the other on trees. The second one is quite famous among the locals and the tourists. It is a delicious and sweet fruit,” said Ahmad.

The chestnut sellers said there is a surge in sales of chestnuts despite the fruit being quite expensive.

They said, people eat chestnuts during winters, as it keeps them warm. “It is costlier than the water chestnuts and also in huge demand,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a chestnut seller, who earns more than Rs. 4000 daily by selling chestnuts .

“We sell unshelled chestnuts for Rs. 800 to Rs 1000 a kilogram while shelled nuts are sold at Rs. 400 to 500. Every day I make more than Rs. 3000 of which Rs 600 is profit,” he said.

For the people here, the very arrival of chestnuts in the market is an indication that winter is on its way. Moreover, the production of chestnuts provides employment to thousands of people in Kashmir.

Dealers said there is a complicated process of bringing the chestnuts into the market.

They said, a dealer buys the trees when the nuts are developed into the buds who later sell it to the vendors as per the rate of the nut boxes.

“Chestnuts are picked after one month of their sprouting and we need to store them for more than two months of the winter season,” they said.

Chestnuts are also known for their nutritional value and doctors also recommended it for back pain. (KINS)

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