A new journey home & back to the garden with Farm-A-Jarn

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By Susanne Wilder

All Life Depends on Soil is the first chapter of my 18th cookbook: 30 Minutes to Health.

Actually, I’ve more experience in the kitchen than the garden but I always hope to learn more. In Chiang Mai I took a two day course with Echo Farms on dealing with Thai pests and organic gardening.

After a series of condos there and one smokey season, I was ready to move on…back to the beach! Along with less tourists, traffic, humidity, floods and smoke, Hua Hin has all the goods; great foods, friendly peeps and prices.

The missing piece was to find a community garden where I could grow my own greens and heirloom tomatoes. And meet kindred spirits caring about the planet, healthy foods and gardening their own edible art. My season now is to retire at least, somewhat, and eat as simply and healthfully as possible. After five years of research on degenerative diseases, I discovered the mostly plant based diet both prevents and potentially reverses these life debilitating diseases.

Imagine the joy of finding Farm-A-Jarn on Facebook with an opportunity to visit, rent a plot and begin the process!

It’s such a great Sunday out to the country to relax, dig in the dirt and fill your senses with the Green. Dr Pawat has a wealth of information on gardening. His multi-faceted business encompasses at least three branches; growing gourmet items for hospitality including figs and edible flowers, gardening consultation and plot rental for expats and Thais to grow their own!

Many parents bring the kids to show where their food comes from and how superb it tastes when freshly picked. This worked for me at age ten on my cousin’s farm, eating a carrot right from the ground. I was so astonished and thrilled I studied at the Cordon Bleu ten years later.

Dr Pawat has an incredible background, studying 11 years in Maine, Texas and Pennsylvania and achieving his doctorate in Cellular and Molecular Biology. He lectures and leads a research team, full time at Silpakorn University in Petchaburi. Then he takes his vision to the populace on the provenance of plants and how to grow and choose the most delicious and nutritious produce. “For example, many of our vegetables are unnecessarily imported from overseas due to economic reasons. Yet we can grow so many varieties here, if we know how to properly manage them in the tropical conditions.”

My first visit was a tour of the inspiring operation; all manner of greens, vegetables, fruits and figs! Pawat, his savvy and talented partner, Mia and myself as a guest chef, collaborated on an open brunch for guests and visitors. The good doctor grilled marinated tofu, I prepped and garnished and Mia made and showed me how to roll the rice paper wraps with veggies, noodles and even edible flowers! Very similar to a burrito but that rice paper must be good and damp. It was so fun to be part of the process and meet other happy gardeners all!

Sunday mornings are the posted times for the community to harvest, relax, weed, relax, fertilise and relax and chat some more. All the while we constantly drink water in the shade to combat the heat.

The entire property is a serene variegated green sanctuary from the city and hot beaches. There’s a pond, two greenhouses, a variety of fruit trees, lots of chillies, all kinds of edible flowers and a coffee presented so good it needed no additions! Yes, it was a plant paradise for me.

To start your morning with a powerful green juice smoothie you need only go to one of my cookbooks. In fact, if you’ve read this far you may enjoy a gifting of that first chapter to 30 Minutes to Health. After writing all about soils, gardening, farmers markets and more the fast and fresh recipes are towards the end.

There’s even a juice smoothie chart by category with nutritious additions to create your own formulas. Simply go to my website, send me your email address and in will come your eBook. It’s so easy here in Hua Hin to get books colour printed too.You may wish to take a moment to peruse www.wilderbythedozen.com and watch a few good food fun videos.

Our next in this series is my first experience with seedlings and starting my own plot!

Susanne Wilder recently moved to Hua Hin from Chiang Mai.

For a free eBook cookbook with more on Soils for Life, gardening and recipes, simply email: wild@wilderbythedozen.com

Visit www.wilderbythedozen.com for more videos and backstory. Currently working on a murder food mystery series: Who Poisoned the Poet?

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