“OTOP stands for ‘One Tambon (meaning sub-district) One Product’. It is a local entrepreneurship stimulus program which aims to support the unique locally made and marketed products of each Thai tambon all over Thailand.”
Tea sold in Ban Rak Thai is part of the OTOP program. Strangely not all the tea in the village had the OTOP stamp making me wonder if the unlabeled tea was imported.
Roasted beans are another local specialty. After swimming in Pha Bong waterfall we stopped at a roadside noodle shop for lunch. Across the road we noticed several women stirring big pots over wood burning fires. Upon closer inspection we saw that they were roasting beans in sand. These roasted beans are a great snack for long bus rides and are another OTOP product from Mae Hong Son province.
|Sifting roasted beans out of the hot sand|
|Sorting out the overtoasted beans|
Sesame seed oil and sesame seed cookies are also produced in Mae Hong Son province and receive the OTOP stamp.
|Sesame seeds growing outside of Mae Hong Son|
|In the village of Ban Pang Mu we found an OTOP shop full of sesame seed oil and cookies|
|These cookies cost 30 cents and come seasoned with honey, ginger or lemon grass.|
|In the countryside we passed sesame fields being harvested and in the yard next to the OTOP shop this woman used a fan to separate the sesame seeds from the chaff|