Crazy about kesar, US girls camp in Savarkundla farm

By Times Of India on 14 May 2018
RAJKOT: The luscious Kesar mangoes have attracted a group of six students from a university in Pennsylvania, US to this picturesque mango farm in Viradi village of Savarkundla taluka in Amreli district.
The students Erika Fernau, Ashley Greb, Jordan Sturm and Sophie Caffrey, students of University of Pittsburgh, are on a visit to the Savani mango farm owned by Bhaskar Savani. They are pre dental and pre-health professions. They came here along with Savani’s daughters Amee and Shaily who are also settled in the US.

“When I first tasted the mangoes sent by Amee’s parents at the college last year, it was a kind of out of this world taste I had never experienced. Mango became the best fruit I had ever tasted. It was then that I decided to visit Amee’s mango farm in Gujarat,” Erika told TOI.

Amee said: “The main purpose of our visit was to volunteer. We went to a school in Bhamodra village in Ahmedabad district and organized a free dental camp. Along with this we went to Virdi village to learn more about the culture, way of life, and people. We wanted to see the difference between how people live in the city versus the village. The girls from US fell in love with the kesar mangoes.”

Till 2007 during the President Bush government in the US, Indian mangoes were banned as India did not have phytosanitary protocol for exporting mangoes. “I helped persuade the US department of agriculture to lift an 18-year ban on Indian mangoes, which federal officials feared would carry into their country troublesome tag-along pests. I lobbied relentlessly, shuttling between Washington, DC and New Delhi,” said Savani.

After the ban was lifted and the mango was available in the US markets, Amee’s friends thought it was the time for them to connect with the land where this fruit originally came from. Apart from mangoes, the group also had the chance to see the Gir lions.

Ashley Greb said: “The mango farmers in Amee’s village taught me how to pick the mangoes. I didn’t realize they had to climb the trees to pick the mangoes. It was delightful to see and learn.”


“My experience on the farm was amazing. My favourite part was the amazing views from obtained from high points and of course the mangoes,” said Jordan.


Local temples and ashrams also attracted the group. “We got to explore the farm and even got to go to some local temples and ashrams. I also got to try Indian mangoes which are so different from American mangoes,” said Sophie.


The Savani farm has also attracted South Korea. “Two representatives from South Korea came to see our village and our cultivation. They stayed here from 7th to 10 April and observed the whole process. We have fulfilled their required standard and now they will place us the order,” said Savani.