Hidden Gem: Friday with the farmers

OrganicOrganic produce on display at the Farmers’ Market l Image Credit: Ishita B. Saha

Every Friday Jumeirah Emirates Towers hosts a wonderful community initiative — the Farmers’ Market, on the terrace of the hotel’s Godolphin Ballroom. Organised by Baker and Spice, an organic produce brand, it started off with four local groups in 2010, but today there are many others who have joined in, along with vendors displaying a variety of products from vegetables to eggs, honey, jams, bread, cakes, beans, pulses and rice.

The philosophy of selling and supporting fresh, locally grown produce binds all these people together. The generated income goes directly to the farmers.

At first, Jumeirah Emirates Towers seemed like an unusual location for a farmers’ market, but as I walked past the kiosks selling fresh and colourful vegetables, I realised it couldn’t have been better. The stunning gardens with palm trees and bright flowers are a great setting for selling and buying organic items. It’s not like a supermarket full of stuffed trolleys and burgeoning queues at the cash counter — instead, you find a handful of select vendors selling what they believe in. Everyone seems to have time in hand and all are welcome.

But the Farmers’ Market is not only about organic vegetables. You can order a sumptuous breakfast of sausages, eggs, fresh bread, pastries and home-made compotes from Baker and Spice, and sip coconut water or freshly brewed coffee by vendors such as Boon Coffee and Coffee Planet. Get to know your spices at the Down to Earth Organic kiosk and drool over thick Yemeni honey by Balqees Honey, founded by Riath Hamed. At his stall, Hamed will regale you with childhood tales about the famous Yemeni dessert Bint Al Sahn, which is traditionally baked and served with honey on top.

Also, don’t forget to stop by at the Slow Food Dubai counter and listen to Founder Laura Allais-Maré talk about restoring balance in our fast-paced lives.

Many of those who visit the market are regulars — bloggers, journalists, celebrities and even families. Celebrated cookbook author and television host Suzanne Husseini often cooks at the market using available produce.

You can also get tips for healthy and nutritious cooking from Gabriele (Gabi) Kurz, Executive Wellbeing Chef at Talise Wellness of the Jumeirah Group. There are complimentary Pilates, yoga and tai’ chi classes by Talise Wellness at the venue as well.

Yael Mejia, Food Consultant to Baker and Spice, and the brainchild behind the Farmers’ Market, says, Connecting directly with the people who grow the food we eat is so important.”

Those participating in the event include local farmers from Showaib Farm Al Ain, Rashed Farm Al Ain, Organiliciouz, Organic Land, Organic Oasis, Integrated Green Resources Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and more.

So what are you waiting for? Get your shopping list and reusable jute bags ready and head out into the warm morning sun this weekend.

*Every Friday until May 2015, from 8am-1 pm at Jumeirah Emirates Towers’ Ballroom Gardens, next to the Boulevard

Source: Ishita B Saha, Special to Property Weekly


This section features lesser-known places and events that are delightfully distinct in their own way. It could be a quaint little café or simply a charming lake. If it’s got character and brings a smile to your face, it’s a hidden gem that will find a place on this page. If you know of a hidden gem, email the Editor at enag@gulfnews.com

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