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We welcome the last months of 2017 with rice season! At Patom, our seasonal table for November and December will showcase organic rice grown by the Sookjai Organic Rice Group.

Khun Lek’s rice farm in November, right before harvest.

Our spotlight is on Khun Lek’s rice farm in Nakorn Pathom. She is responsible for growing many types of rice on her farm and distributing the different strains to 9 farmers in the Sookjai Organic Rice Group. There are 20 different types of rice that are native to the Nakorn Pathom area; however, the group focuses on 4 types of rice: Hom Mali, Hom Nakorn Chaisri, Hom Patom, and Patum Thani.

When we visited Khun Lek, we noticed how picturesque and well-kept her farm was. “It’s easy to grow rice organically.” Khun Lek told us as she offered us some organic cherry tomatoes that she also grows on her farm.

Freshly picked organic tomatoes from Khun Lek’s farm.

As she showed us around the farm, we found colorful flowers growing everywhere between the rice paddies. Khun Lek tells us that she first grew them because she likes how the colourful flowers bloom in the mornings. Later she noticed that growing these flowers also prevented weeds to grow on her land; a technique commonly used by organic farmers.

Flowers grown everywhere between the rice paddies

Flowers bloom in the morning on Khun Lek’s farm.

It has been three years since Khun Lek joined the Sookjai Foundation. The foundation helped her to make the transition to organic farming by following the Sampran Model; they supported her with information on how to manage a successful organic farm. The foundation has rules and regulations that all of the farmers in the Sookjai Organic Rice Group has to follow and respect. The farmers all have the responsibility to check each other to see that everyone is following the foundation’s guidelines.

Pollen from a rice plant.

Sunn hemp is a plant that restores nitrogen to the soil in-between growing season.

Khun Lek use to grow mangos and guavas conventionally on her farm. “We didn’t dare to even eat the fruits that we grew.” She said. The amount of chemicals and pesticides that they use to put in her plants scared her. Today, she has started to plant organic guava, rose apple, tomatoes, and much more. 

A view of a few plants that Khun Lek grows. Organic tomatoes, rice, bananas and coconuts.

Thailand usually exports the first grade of rice to other countries. Organic rice is the exception, and we keep it in the country. Learn more about the different types of rice that the Sookjai Organic Rice Group grows by visiting us in our shop in Bangkok. 

This season, we are using organic rice from the Sookjai Organic Rice Group in our rice soap, pinto lunch boxes, and our seasonal cake.