The coconut palm is a graceful tree that shades tropical beaches and thrives wherever the climate is warm and moist. It is the primary source of materials used to build rural houses, and is also used as mooring poles for fishing boats. Coconut is a common ingredient in Thai food. But for Thais, the coconut palm is also a cultural icon - a tree that plays an important role in their way of life. There are many ways in which the people of Thailand use the coconut in connection with traditional beliefs. When a family builds a house, for example, it is customary to plant a coconut palm at the eastern corner, as it is believed this will bring happiness to the household. And in fact, doing so also provides cooling shade when the sun rises in the morning. In Buddhist religious ceremonies, young coconuts are included when offerings are made, as coconut juice is very pure and thus suitable for deities.
The first coconut plantation was introduced on Koh Mak in 1906. All of Koh Mak's coconut plantations are owned by locals, and most of them are organic. Organic coconuts are a niche market and a few years ago some local growers signed a contract with a company that produces only organic coconuts. The numbers on the trees show that no chemicals were used to grow the coconut palm. Local families can still collect "wild coconuts" that are not marked.