On the outskirts of Bangkok, just a 45-minute drive,
An agrotourism community is very much alive.
Bill and I took a boat ride on the Maha Sawat Canal
And were introduced to the interesting farming locale.
After feeding some fish that were rather aggressive,
Often flipping out of the water (pretty impressive),
We stepped into a covered long tail boat,
And hoped, with our weight, it would remain afloat!
The ever-smiling skipper steered us past a beautiful wat
That couldn’t have been built on a more serene spot.
The canal was quite pretty with lovely overhanging trees,
And lots of blooming flowers were swaying in the breeze.
(I applied poetic license in that last line, I admit.
Any movement of air was manmade and just a wee bit!)
Anyway, our first canal landing was at a lotus or bua farm
Where we were greeted by a pig-nosed turtle with charm!
We then stepped onto a pier that overlooked a pond –
It was as if someone had waved a magic wand.
There were lotus flowers as far as the eye could see,
As well as lily pads as big as you and me!
We hopped into a rowboat propelled by an oar
And paddled right through buas galore!
Most of the flowers had not opened as it was still early in the day,
But our eye-level view of the buds was fantastic, I must say.
Their huge veined leaves were so soft to the touch
And were also water repellent, pretty much.
It’s no wonder these flowers are so special to the Thais,
Particularly for Buddhists because they symbolize
A spiritual rise to enlightenment from a lowly plight –
Starting out in the mud and growing toward warmth and light.
I was delighted when our ‘captain’ handed a blossom to me.
Perhaps good luck will come my way. We’ll see…
We said good-bye to the turtle and boarded again
Looking forward to our next agro stop-in.
In less than 10 minutes, we were guided ashore
To a rice cracker demo and general snack store.
A young woman rolled then flattened rice flour dough
With added sesame seeds to give it flavor, you know.
Then she used cookie cutters just for fun
Before letting the snacks bake in the sun.
The next step was to toss them in oil for a second or two
And then, once the snacks cooled, she was almost through.
After brushing on a sauce and adding some fluffy pork (don’t ask)
We volunteered to perform the difficult (ha, ha) eating task!
The crackers were yummy enough to ask for more
And we had three bags full as we left the store.
Before leaving, however, we met a sweet elderly woman who
Started a farmers’ housewife group to give them something to do.
By making their snacks from all things locally grown
They have supported their community and become pretty well known.
The woman also gave us lotus seeds to try
They were ok but not tasty enough to buy!
Then it was time to shove off again
And head for the gac fruit right around the bend.
The bright-colored fruit was hanging from a vine
That provided shelter from the heat, which was definitely fine.
The gac juice was refreshing, but Bill said the pulp had little taste.
Hence, the homemade gac soaps and lotions, so as not to have any waste.
The gac, also known as baby jackfruit, is packed with nutrients
As well as carotenoids, vitamins, and anti-oxidants!
Too bad they have more color than flavor;
Just not a fruit we could really savor.
An orchid farm was the next point on the tour
And there were orchids there, for sure!
Rows and rows of the flower I have trouble growing at home
But no, I never once thought of pocketing some loam.
Actually the orchids – purples, reds, and yellows,
Were all growing out of dried coconut shell-os!
Now that’s an idea I just might have to try;
I’ll let you know if it works, by and by.
Our final disembarkment was at a good ol’ basic farm
Where picnic tables and scarecrows go arm in arm.
We were served some fresh mango, papaya, and banana, to boot,
As well as some interesting dried and candied fruit.
There were also melt-in-your-mouth tapioca treats,
But the star of the farm was not one of the eats.
Nope, the tractor ride was the unexpected hit of the day,
And it was not a cushy ride on top of some hay.
The tractor itself was far from your basic John Deere,
But more like…oh, brother, just see the picture here.
The farmer steered it in a rudder-like fashion
And had to jump out on curves to prevent us from crashin’!
It was quite a spectacle to behold,
And had us laughing like children, the truth be told.
Lunchtime was approaching as we finished our loop,
So we ordered a noodle dish (with jellyfish) and some tom yum soup.
We munched and reflected on our morning education,
Learning about all the products that come from this location.
It was definitely a terrific way
To escape the heat of the city for the day!