Rice has always been the staple food of the Thai people, and it plays a crucial role as the essence of Thai life. Farmers transfer the knowledge of rice cultivation from one generation to the next. They enjoy a rich culture with centuries-old traditions linked with rice farming.
The rice field mud walls are designed to keep the water in the paddies. By breaking holes in these mud walls, water may be moved down from higher fields to irrigate lower ones. Once the seedlings are planted, they are later transplanted at a greater distance one from the next, almost always through a uniquely backbreaking operation that is often accompanied by generous shots of rice whisky (lao khao) or its local, sweeter moonshine variety, lao sathaw. The rice then enjoys the rainfall during the green season through to around September. The rice turns from emerald, to a darker green and finally to dry gold under the strong sun. By late November, it is ready to be harvested. Each morning, farmers go into the fields with sickles to harvest their crop. The cut rice is spread on the fields to dry for several days before being bundled into sheaves and taken to the family compound where it is threshed, and may then be milled.