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Expat Joy As Farmer’s Market’s Gain Further Momentum in Dubai

We all know and love the culinary delights of Dubai. By day and by night there’s a cornucopia of international dishes available at the push of a button. Literally. Absolutely any thing one could desire in the way of restaurant, bistro or take away food. We are busy people. We live in a fast paced society and expect what we want when we want it, don’t we? We’ve slipped into a way of life that is too busy and very 24/7. Not so. When it comes to home cooking and feeding your ever hungry families, you are probably hankering after the delights of fresh organic, free range and local produce and you are happy to take your time over it. In Europe, USA and Canada we are used to Farmers markets. So the news that one of our own Dubai Farmers Market will have a new venue at the Promenade, Dubai Marina from 9-2pm in addition to the Friday venue at Souk Al Bahar (11am – 3pm) is good news indeed! So, for those of you not quite sure what a Farmers Market is or can offer, read on.

The Farmers Market is something of an institution in most cities in Europe. We have a choice. I used to pop along to my local Farmers Market and greedily stuff my face with local Lincolnshire produce at least once a month. I’m a bit of a home cook and my visits made my weekend even more pleasurable. I enjoyed the melting pot of local food especially when lacking inspiration for supper with friends. I soon wobbled home with my bags full of goodies. My purchases would include fabulous and famous Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese’s, Red Hill Beef and locally farmed Osteridge burgers, the Lincolnshire sausage, fresh baked breads and pastries to name a few. The vapor’s wafting from the stalls on a cold winters morning calling me to buy and making my heart sing. I have to tell you I will be visiting these new market venues regularly. I can’t tell you how excited I get about local produce.

Growing up I didn’t give the food on the table a lot of thought. Looking back then my Mother didn’t rely on a huge supermarket. She shopped daily and locally. I’ve been a Mum myself now for 22 years and I have evolved as every Mother does. I now think very hard about what I feed my family. It bothers me where the food I put on the table comes from and at what cost? Not just financially although we are all very aware of stretching family budgets. No I can’t bare to watch children on tv starving. Why? When we have so much food, so much land. There’s an imbalance in so many ways. For me there is nothing more comforting than knowing where your food has come from or where it is going. Not thousands of miles packaged in expensive environmentally unfriendly plastic and all that worry about fossil fuels and mileage melts away. Distance to table? Ten to forty miles at the most? I can live with that and my conscience. Half the personalities behind these products I knew personally because they were LOCAL! It was always a great feeling knowing that not only was I able to provide the best fresh produce for my family but also bonus that I was supporting the local economy and the community. Dubai is catching on fast so do not despair.

In France the Farmers Market is long standing and well supported, a way of life. For those of you new to the concept a Farmers Market consists of individual vendors, mostly farmers who collectively set up outdoor or indoor market stalls to sell produce, meat products, fruits and often home prepared foods and beverages. Some even include homes made crafts, clothing and art. The stalls will open your eyes to what is being produced in Dubai and help you with the daily grind of family food preparation. A wander round the farmers Market is a delightful experience bound to inspire. There are often tasting plate’s available to temp you further! You’ll walk it off don’t worry!

Many food articles praise the Farmers Markets for bringing us back to seasonal food. Lets face it this is no bad thing. Yes we are very lucky to have supermarkets of all different shapes and sizes providing us with 24/7 one-stop shops enabling the housewife to stock any type of product at any time of the year. I am guilty too of demanding produce out of season but I am getting better. Still whilst it will take a revolution to oust this way of supermarket shopping from our psyche’s, for now the Farmers Markets, Street food and ever growing hypermarkets and the like can happily sit side by side.

Most of us caring for children and looking after our health would certainly prefer fresher produce, less packaging, less travel and no added chemicals. We are all aware that Farmers are now struggling to stay afloat and keep up with supermarket price wars almost pricing them out of business. Advocates of the Farmers Markets state that the markets help farmers stay in business as well preserving natural resources. There is no doubt that Farmer’s Markets add value to communities and support local business and home industry. We are also encouraging preservation of farmland. According to the American Farmland Trust, sustainably managed farms conserve soil and clean water and provide a habitat for wildlife. Moreover, modern farmers markets help maintain important social ties, linking rural and urban populations and even close neighbors in a mutually rewarding exchange. Some Farmers Markets are well over a century old yet we think it’s a new thing. It isn’t but it’s a return to sensible shopping and a return to community and it’s a win, win!

Hope to see you there!

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