We believe that the food we eat is the first and most important step towards being healthy and, ultimately, happy. A poor diet can make you sick, which can dramatically effect the quality of your life. A healthy diet (I realise that what is considered healthy is still a matter for debate) will make or keep you well and provide the platform from which to enjoy life. So we regard searching out organic food, even if it is possibly more expensive, as a worthwhile investment.
In Brazil last year, we had to trek more than an hour each way along a beach to gather food - and not even organic food, although there was a weekly produce delivery almost to our doorstep that was great. In Chiang Mai, however, we are literally (above) within a stone's throw of an abundant organic market by the university.
It opens every Wednesday and Saturday and is best to arrive early. I go around 6am and the range of fresh vegetables is great - not to mention the smell of the herbs as you walk around.
There is fruit also, but mostly mango, banana, lychee - at least at this time of year. And there is cooked food being served and sold. On the street outside the market there are other traders offering oranges, pineapple, melons, jackfruit etc.
I usually take with me two large bags and fill them. I get broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, greens, avocados, bananas, lychee, passion fruit, celery, green beans, cucumber and sunflower sprouts - enough to last from one market day to the other. The cost: 480 baht (just under £10).
The four avocados - pretty decent sized ones - came to 44 baht (less than £1).
I've not yet seen large watermelons or durian. I get these elsewhere. As an example of cost, I recently purchased 10 coconuts, a 4kg watermelon and 3kg durian for £9.
There are a few other organic regular stops for us. The Doi Kham Royal Project (on Suthep and Canal Road junction), Rimpeng Supermarket (near the airport and Central Airport Plaza and more costly) and Baan Suan Pak, where I can buy packs of tempeh for just over 50 pence each.
Living in Chiang Mai has its pros and cons, but the fresh, organic produce available is definitely one of the major positives.