Based in Karnataka, Tani Naturals is known for its first cold-pressed oils: peanuts, sesame, niger, and other seeds. Grinding the seeds slowly, and at a low temperature of upto 25 degree celsius—using a wooden press—retains their natural aroma and flavour in the oil, while first extracts tend to yield oils of the highest quality. Tanuja BK and Prarthana Nagaraj—mother and daughter co-founders of Tani Naturals—seek to preserve this method of oil extraction.
Tanuja comes from an agrarian family, and her organisation continues to have strong ties to growers: it is part of the state-wide Natural Farming Farmers’ Group, and sources raw material directly from fellow members. As active participants of the group, Tanuja and Prarthana have an ear to the ground when it comes to the challenges faced by farming communities. For example, six months ago, flooding affected sesame harvests and the seeds cost Rs 190 a kilo, a full Rs 40 over the rate from the month before. Aware of this, the mother-daughter team was happy to source sesame seeds at this price.
Why We Love Tani Naturals
- Quality and taste – The importance of quality shines through their products as the oils have distinct and intense notes of their respective seeds—like peanut and niger. While some oils like niger and coconut may be relatively thick and viscous, others like peanut oil, are thin and perfect for dressings and marinades.
- Rooted in traditional systems – Ghanis, or wood press machines, and stone grinders mechanically crush the seeds to extract oil. By maintaining the temperature below 25 degree celsius throughout this process, this form of extraction retains the taste and nutrients of the seed in the oil. When automatic machines are used, these elements are affected by external heat and friction.
- Zero waste production cycle – The residual cakes collected post-extraction are re-used as manure inputs in their farms and as fodder. The excess is sold to farmers in adjacent farms.
What does natural farming mean to you?
“Coming from a long line of farmers, natural farming represents an agricultural approach aligned with the values and aspirations for a sustainable and harmonious farm ecosystem.
Natural farming means prioritising soil health above all else: nurturing a thriving soil ecosystem is the foundation for successful farming. Towards this end, we practise cover cropping, crop rotation, and minimal tillage, in addition to avoiding synthetic fertilisers, pesticides, and herbicides. Biodiversity, nutrient cycling, and water management are also at the heart of our approach. Ultimately, natural farming embodies our commitment to long-term farm sustainability and resilience.”
— Prarthana Nagraj, co-founder, Tani Naturals
The Locavore Bite
TL Bite offers a glimpse into how a partner producer runs their operations, and reflects their core principles and values. The idea is to provide insights into their practices and highlight their positive efforts descriptively. We have identified seven key areas of assessment – origin and source of ingredients, composition and integrity of the products, workforce policies, production practices, community-related initiatives, approach towards preserving or celebrating traditional knowledge and the materials used in packaging. While this assessment may not be entirely comprehensive, we hope it helps you make an informed decision about why you might want to support them, and the ways in which to.
The information below offers you a snapshot of where Tani Naturals stands on these parameters. We have put this together based on several rounds of conversation with Prarthana Nagraj and Tanuja BK, co-founders of Tani Naturals. Click on a piece of the pie below to find out more.
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If you would like to learn more about Tani Naturals, or try their products, check out their website. If you’re interested in supporting them in other ways, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At The Locavore, we strive to keep the practices of a producer transparent and honest across all forms of partnerships.