We proclaim al fresco season officially open, as the Ripe Market moves outdoors again. Held at Dubai Police Academy Park on Umm Suqeim Road, the market is on every weekend until May 1.
Local vendors have always been at the heart of the market, but supporting home-grown brands seems more poignant than ever this year. "This season will involve more local makers and artisans," says Kelsey Labrou, marketing manager, Ripe Market. "We will host 16 farmers each week, where they will sell locally grown and made produce, such as fresh bread, meat, olives, olive oil, milk, dates, honey and labneh. This year has been tough on most farmers and we want to support them in any way that we can."
Support local at Ripe Market
On offer are products you'd be hard-pressed to find on supermarket shelves – Dima Al Sharif's vegetable jams, for instance. Al Sharif started her pickle and jam brand Mooneh in 2014.
“I realised that the best way to support farmers was to buy from them,” she says. “I wasn’t able to do so on a big scale, but then realised I could preserve their produce for longer in pickle form.”
Some of the products on Mooneh’s eclectic menu include eggplant jam, chilli jam and beetroot jam.
Also on the table are Emm Daniel’s savoury dips, which are free of preservatives, additives, gluten and dairy. Founded by Corinne Sfeir Shaiban, the brand has been selling garlic paste, black olive paste, spinach dip and celery pesto at the Ripe Market since 2017. “Ripe brings the community together and is the perfect platform to launch a business,” Shaiban says.
Fashion at Ripe Market
Fashion and beauty buyers can explore the central walkway, which will have local vendors selling everything from organic skincare and handcrafted leather bags to handmade jewellery and art. Ekadot Boutique, for example, sells clothes that combine comfort with urban style, with fabrics made from natural fibres. "This season, people can expect to find a lot of kimono fusion styles," says Valeria Baigacheva, founder of Ekadot Boutique.
Elsewhere, the Exotic Plant Souq will sell a wide selection of indoor and outdoor plants as well, and offer landscape services.
Activities at Ripe Market
Shopping aside, there will be plenty of things to see and do, courtesy of Dubai Police. These include pony rides, marching bands, supercar shows, community talks and safety demonstrations. Mascot Mansour will also be around to entertain children. Live music and free yoga classes are on offer, while open-mic nights come courtesy of a partnership with Dubai Music.
Children can explore the animal care centre's mini animal kingdom to interact with rescued animals, or take part in arts and craft activities. "We have also teamed up with Emirates Equestrian Centre, which will offer pony rides to the public, while sports complex Just Play will host paddle tennis and other fitness classes," says Labrou.
Food at Ripe Market
To alleviate your hunger pangs there are pop-ups by Australian joint Boston Lane serving toasties and coffee; vegan burgers from Jomo; and The Roost, which will serve free-range, hormone and antibiotic-free meat marinated for more than 40 hours and slow-cooked. Other food stalls include The Broth Lab, The Burger Stop, The Sweetie Shop, Pizza di Rocco, Dickey's Barbecue Pit, Kinz, La Patrona, Semisweet and Projeto Acai.
Anticipating more visitors than ever, Labrou says the market has teamed up with Dubai Police to ensure Covid-19 standards and procedures are adhered to.
Ripe Market Dubai is open 9am-7pm on Fridays and 10am-7pm on Saturdays. Ripe Market Abu Dhabi will resume early next year, organisers say