Friday in Dubai is like Saturday or Sunday in Denmark (weekend, that is), and I usually prefer to sleep until I wake up by myself. Though this Friday, I resisted the urge to just hit snooze, roll over and go back to sleep again, and instead, I woke up my visiting parents and told them to get up and get dressed, “We’re going to the Farmers’ Market!”
6:45 in the morning, we arrived to the cold, windy spot in front of Emirates Towers, where the market was supposed to take place, but it was completely empty. Could I have missed something? I asked Google and, yes, I certainly had. Turned out the market was from 9 to 13 and not 6 to 10. I guess the reason for the mistake was that I had typed in the timing for the market while I was in Dubai, and then travelled back and forth between Dubai and Denmark several times, sometimes without updating my calendar. Somehow the 3-hour time difference between Denmark and Dubai had confused the phone, making both the phone and I think that the market was indeed 6-10.
The weather was really bad that Friday (in Dubai, “really bad” translates to “cloudy, windy and temperatures below 25°C), so we hurried inside Emirates Towers and waited in the lobby couches until 7:30, when Starbucks opened. Then we drank 3 Caramel Macchiatos v-e-r-y slow, while waiting for the market to open. I tried to convince my parents to just skip the whole thing and go back to bed, but they really wanted to go, so we stayed and waited. And waited. And waited.
Finally the market opened, and in spite of the bad weather, a lot of people were there from the very beginning, browsing the stalls full of local, organic produce. What first struck me was the smell. Contrary to in most grocery stores in Dubai, you could actually smell the tomatoes, the leek and the carrots. This is what fresh vegetables smell like, and it was divine. I hadn’t planned to buy anything, as we were heading for some sightseeing afterwards, but nonetheless, I ended up with a brown paper bag full of kale, radishes and sparkling red tomatoes. I think I paid 5 AED for the tomatoes and the radishes. Much cheaper than the organic section in the supermarkets down here. The reason why it’s so cheap is that you deal directly with the farmers.
It’s important to support the local farmers, and make sure that there’s a healthy market for organic produce, where the vegetables available are dictated by the season and not by how cheap it is to ship it to Dubai. Vegetables ripened in the sun are both healthier and tastier than vegetables, which have spent weeks on board a container ship. So if you live in Dubai, please go visit The Farmers’ Market on the Terrace, and buy your veggies directly from the farmers, even if it means you’ll have to get up at 6 9 in the morning on a Friday.