One fine sunny day, the so-called renewable enthusiastic gang and I were headed to Saraburi (a province about less than two hours from Bangkok). We were visiting an organic farm to discuss their requirement to install solar panels to supply electricity to use within their farm.
Their farm was located not far from the main road, not difficult to find. The lady owner greeted us with their homemade organic juice (poor me, I don’t remember what it’s called). The owner told us about her plan to install ventilation fans at green houses and was keen to explore using solar panels to supply power. Note that there were two lovely corgi dogs running around while we were discussing. Both dogs loved to sniff on and lick my pants so much that my pants were soaked with their saliva!
The owner had not yet determined how much electricity consumption from the fans would be. So, the interest in installing solar panels was not really because of the electricity bill. The farm was selected by local government agricultural organization to be some kind of a case study for other farms to learn from. The owner wanted to have a pilot green house unit that runs on solar power.
Then the owner’s daughter led us to tour the farm on an electric golf car (with two corgi’s running enthusiastically along trying to get a bite at the tires!). Green houses were well organized locating along both sides of the farm road. There was a fertilizer house where they made fertilizer themselves. They wanted to make sure the fertilizer was organic and not contaminated with chemicals.
There was an area that looked almost like a mini resort. They were guesthouses for visitors who signed up for organic agriculture courses which would run for a few days. Then we went to see the packing area that was kept clean and cold. There was a cold storage that probably consumed the most electricity in the farm, a washing area where they rinsed produced before packing, and packing and labeling room where staffs nicely packaged the end products.
It was very amazing to learn that the farm sold the entire end products solely to retail household customers without any intermediaries. The owner’s daughter told us that it took her mom years from the start to slowly gain reputation among organic consumers. Not all organic-labeled produces are truly organic, and serious consumers are aware of that! The farm had their own logistics, they grouped consumers by area and scheduled delivery once or twice a week. It was very amazing indeed how they managed to sell their entirely outputs directly to customers!
Organic food market is very interesting to explore. It might still be small but surely it keeps growing, not to mention the segment is at the premium price tier.