May 27 2011
A few people had recommended the Doi Kham shop to me and it sounded interesting, but could I find it? Could I (deleted)! In my defense when I did eventually stumble upon it, it looked like this:
That is, it looked just like a small, unassuming government office not unlike several dozen other small, unassuming government offices in Chiang Mai. I mean does that look like a supermarket/reputed organic produce market to you?
Imagine my surprise when I pushed the doors open: no taking an automated ticket number, no information desk, no whirl of computers and fax machines. I had entered a kind of new age 7-eleven.
Anyway the ‘shop’ is the retail outlet for produce coming from the Doi Kham Royal Project outside Chiang Mai, which began as a crop substitution initiative by the King himself, to provide alternative sources of income for hill-tribe villages that formerly relied on opium production.
The farmers now concentrate on higher value, often exotic “Western” herbs and vegetables that are expensive and hard to find elsewhere. They’ve also now branched out into other hard-to-find items for the mostly expat and hotel/restaurant market, such as rabbit, trout and farmed boar, so this is a great place to check out if you want unusual fresh food products at very reasonable prices. I have since found this useful site with directions on it (!) — wish we’d found it earlier.
For those like myself who may be navigationally challenged, to recap the directions: go up Suthep Road past Suan Dok hospital and temple, until you meet the canal road. Cross straight over the traffic lights and turn immediately right into the car park in front of the office building – which is actually the shop. Since you don’t see many government offices with fruit and veg stalls in the car park, it’s a sign that you’ve found the right place. Open daily, 08:00 to 18:00. Enjoy your smoked Doi Kham rabbit with fancy Brussel sprouts!
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