Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 28 October 2020

Dubai’s Ripe market to reopen on October 10

The organic fruit and vegetable market will be held at Zabeel Park on Fridays.
Healthy eaters can once again buy organic food from the Ripe fruit and vegetable market, but at a new venue. Antonie Robertson / The National
Healthy eaters can once again buy organic food from the Ripe fruit and vegetable market, but at a new venue. Antonie Robertson / The National

DUBAI // Ripe, one of the UAE’s most popular organic fruit and vegetable markets, is reopening on Friday at a new location in Zabeel Park.

With more than 150 vendors on board this year, new produce will be on sale.

Becky Balderstone, founder of Ripe, said: “Ripe’s aim is to make fresh, local, organic produce accessible to the entire community, while also providing a platform for local artisans to grow and showcase their businesses.

“As the market grows, our home needs to grow in order to accommodate everyone. The disruption that is going on around the Safa Park area would have made it difficult for visitors and vendors to enjoy the market, so we were very excited to have been able to secure Zabeel Park, Gate 1, as our brand new home.”

The new location offers accessibility, parking and large facilities.

“We have a huge variety of organic vegetables,” Ms Balderstone said. “They include courgettes, bell peppers, pumpkin, cucumbers, tomatoes, leafy greens like lettuce, rocket and herbs and we have some delicious fruits, too, like watermelon.

“Ripe’s new agricultural manager has been working hard developing growing plans with our local farms and sourcing some fantastic new varieties like kale and watercress.”

The market, which will be open every Friday from 9am to 2pm, has become popular among expatriates, last year attracting more than 10,000 visitors each week. “The concept gives them a taste of their home country,” Ms Balderstone said.

The popularity of organic food is growing in the UAE and Stephanie Nammar, an independent clinical dietician in Dubai, said: “People in the Arabian Gulf are definitely more conscious about their health and, therefore, about their food choices.

“They are willing to pay more for organic products because of the new dietary trends in going green and eating clean. Western expatriates are more concerned about organic food and remain the current main consumers. But there is still a lot to do in order to introduce and sustain this trend among locals.”

She said organic produce was perceived as healthier as it was grown without pesticides, weedkillers or fertilisers.

“That does not mean they are more nutritious than regular vegetables,” Ms Nammar said. “It all depends on their vitamin content and freshness.”

Stephanie Karl, a nutritionist at the Dubai London Clinic, said there was a higher level of toxicity in people’s bodies nowadays.

“This is because we don’t eat so well and we’re getting toxic exposure from products we use on our hair and bodies and breathing in,” she said.

“Organic is a bit of a luxury but, if you’ve got the chance, then it’s a great option.”

cmalek@thenational.ae

Updated: October 6, 2014 04:00 AM

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