Rajendra Hindumane was a typical areca nut and mango farmer until he developed an interest in collecting rare and exotic fruits some 20 years back.

Today, his lush green farm in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada region grows 1,300 types of fruit plants, spices, medicinal herbs and a few rare wild plants.

He sources the saplings from Vietnam, Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, Thailand, Japan and Hawaii through middlemen, and also from nurseries in Kerala and West Bengal.

Gac from Vietnam, Jaboticaba and Biriba from Brazil, Cempedak from Malaysia and Blue Java banana from Indonesia are some of the exotic fruits in his collection.

“It is a very costly passion,” he says.

Before planting the rare items, they are grown in a polyhouse and observed for several months or a couple of seasons.

His twin daughters, Megha and Gagana, both software engineers, are also highly interested in farming.

“Ours is a fruit lover’s paradise,” says Gangana.

The family has a vast collection of Appemidi, a mango pickle variety endemic to the Malnad region.

Other than the fruits, he grows coffee, cashew nuts, nutmeg, bamboo, cacao, cinnamon, vanilla, pepper, ginger, clove, turmeric, sugarcane and many more.

Moreover, they maintain a database with plant details like botanical names, habitats, flowering an fruiting season, medicinal properties and 'peculiarities'.

Recognised by the State for its vast collection, the farm is home to rare and medicinal herbs of the Western Ghats.