Sustainability is so hot right now, and if there is one agro-cultural destination you should check out this season, it is this one: Jim Thompson Farm in Nakhon Ratchasima. From December to January, the space is opening up to visitors for a showcase of the region’s natural beauty, and an exemplary farming practice devoted to the sustainable conservation of Isan’s culinary heritage.
Themed ‘Zap Nua Huamuan’ (which loosely translates to “so pleasingly tasty it’ll make you burst into laughter and joy”), the space consists of attractions and activities revolving around the local food scene. Celebrating Isan’s rich and deep-rooted traditions and rural way of life, guests are invited to explore a number of pavilions, each inspired by a different aspect of the region’s eating culture.
Against a backdrop of the Phrayaprab hills, the Lam Sam Lai reservoir, and a charming pumpkin patch, visitors to the Jim Thompson Farm will be greeted by bright pink florals and a seemingly endless field of sunflowers. Here, they will get the chance to explore an organic fruit and vegetable orchard, and admire art installations by renowned Thai artist Pinnaree Sanpitak.
Furthermore, anyone with an interest in organic dining, foraging and folk cuisine, can take part in workshops outlining traditional and sustainable practices, as well as the benefits of eating and cooking local. There will also be a selection of Isan favourites ready to sample, from kaeng hed ra-ngok and kaeng hed poh, to om waii, soup nomai, and mok pla yon.
Blending food with art, the Jim Thompson Farm also boasts playful installations inspired by the region. A garden of pickled fish jars lies at the heart of the ‘Isan Village’ attraction, as well as a gigantic mortar and pestle with a slide, as a somewhat oversized culinary playground (definitely one for the ‘gram). ‘The Mats and The Pillows’ is a further installation created by Pinnaree Sanpitak, featuring mats made of thread waste and combined with traditional khit pillows crafted in Maha Sarakham. For those who would like to try their own hand at traditional crafting, there is also a wicker workshop, whereby visitors can learn to make palm-leaf models of Isan’s most popular insects.
Of course, no visit to the Jim Thompson Farm would be complete without an opportunity to witness the iconic Jim Thompson silk production. Beginning with an exploration of the life cycle of silk worms, guests will be able to witness the production of elegant silk fabrics, from the reeling and yarn bleaching, through to the natural dyeing and weaving.
End your day with a boat ride or a massage and traditional herbal wellness indulgences, before enjoying a meal at Jim’s Market. With a basket full of fresh organic fruit and vegetables to take home, it’s a full day of Thai agriculture and a testament to the Isan art of eating and living sustainably.
Jim Thompson Farm, Takob Sub-district, Pak Thong Chai District, Nakhon Ratchasima, +66 2 762 2566. The Farm Tour 2018 is open daily from 09:00-17:00 until Sunday 6 January 2019.