A bit about yourself. Do you have a food background?
My name is Umeshwari Machani. My husband (Srivardhan Sethuram) and I started Monsoon Harvest in 2016. We don’t have a food background, I was in economic development and Sri’s background is in engineering and marketing. We are however very passionate about both, food and the environment. We wanted to use millets in new and contemporary ways, so that they are more widely accepted by people on a daily basis as part of their diet. Millets have a smaller eco footprint than most other grains such as wheat and rice and are a highly sustainable crop. Millets are drought and pest resistant – they don’t need fertilisers, pesticides or excess water like other grains. Consuming millets are good for us as well as the environment.
Why muesli? What next?
I have been making this muesli at home for a number of years and my friends and family love it… it just seemed like the perfect product to start with.
Making small batches of Monsoon Harvest. What’s involved?
Smaller batches mean having a better control over the end product. Our muesli is baked twice,our almonds are hand cut so the smaller batch sizes helps.
Describe a typical day at Monsoon Harvest.
Production beings at 9:00am with cleaning, a daily briefing on the products that needs to be made, planning for the day etc. Production takes place in two phases morning and afternoon. Everyone have their assigned tasks and go about it. The sales team comes in at 9:30am and they have a briefing on the day’sgoals and activities. The production team breaks for tea at 11:00 am and this is when the dispatches to various distributors take place. The production team then works till 1:00 pm and breaks for lunch. The cleaning crew cleans up the factory floor and gets it ready for the second phase. The second phase starts at 2:00pm and lasts till 6:00pm. At 6:00pm, we take stock and the cleaning crew cleans up and has the place ready for the next day.
Your work space.
My husband and I shuttle between the factory and the sales office. I spend more time on the factory floor to monitor the process and keep a close eye on the end product. Sri spends more time with the sales team.
Tell us about your products that you propose to showcase at the By Hand, From The Heart.
There are a couple of products that we are bringing to By Hand, From the Heart. The first is our toasted millet muesli, and the second is our newest addition, buttermilk and millet crackers. The muesli is a great way to start your day… We have four variants – Cranberry & Almond;Roasted Cacao Bean& Raisin; Dark Chocolate & Orange Peel; and Fig & Honey with Salted Pistachios. The buttermilk and millet crackers will be launched at the By Hand, From the Heart. They will come in four flavors:Cracked Black Pepper; Fennel; Onion; and Roasted Garlic. The crackers are a great pairing for cheese, dips and an amazing base for canapés. They can also be a great snack when you are on the move or need a little pick me up with your afternoon tea.
What’s your favourite pick with Monsoon Harvest?
My pick is for the muesli is the roasted cacao bean and raisin. And for the crackers it’s the fennel.
What’s the best thing about being a food entrepreneur?
There’s nothing that beats a customer telling you that they love your product…
9 What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten along the way in building your business?
Quality and consistency are key.
Your advice for aspiring food artisans / food entrepreneurs?
It’s an amazing space to be in right now, a lot of people are doing new and creative things. If you are passionate and have the drive, pursue it…