Have you ever wondered where your food comes from or how long it takes to get here? We have! Organic farming is so much healthier for the environment (and the local economy) and it emphasises the use of physical, mechanical and biological controls instead of using chemicals that harm the environment.
Living in the UAE doesn’t present the strawberry picking opportunities we remember of a British Summer back home, but there are some brilliant farms to visit with your children where you can introduce them to farm culture (and increase their love of fruit and vegetables at the same time!)
Here are some of the best organic farms in the UAE and the bonus is that you can visit most of them to get to see the organic farming in action and pick your dinner plate – all by yourself!
Desert Farm Organic
Situated in Al Khwaneej not far from Mushrif Park, Desert Farm Organic have a fabulous farm that’s open to the public each Saturday from 9am until 3pm.
They believe customers should not have to pay more for organic food imported into the UAE that can be a great expense, (both financially and environmentally) when they can offer the same quality items grown locally and offered at a much lower cost.
They offer more than 40 different varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs, as well as free range organic eggs and delicious honey. They believe that it is healthier, fresher and more sustainable for the UAE then other alternatives available and are one of the few organic farms here that are fully certified by the highest European and American organic certification bodies. This ensures maximum freshness so that their produce goes from farm to fork in only a matter of hours.
It’s an Emirati family business and we love the fact that not only do they offer tours of their fields to see the crops and the domes, but they have their goats roaming around (that are pretty friendly so you can pet them a bit too). On top of this, their honey comes from their own beehives and they offer fresh, home-made lemonade and a popcorn stand for visitors to make them feel welcome!
For more info visit firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0505394332
Organic Oasis is a brand you may well recognise from seeing in the supermarkets, however, they believe in us being able to deal directly between their farms and ourselves, so they sell their produce at their farm shop too.
Due to their open transparency policy, you can visit their farm to see how them hand pick their crops and they actively encourage customers to take some time at the weekend to see how their organic farming works. Visitors are invited to pick their own produce and children are even offered the chance to join in with the farmers too.
School tours and private visits are available from Sundays to Thursdays between 8:30 am until 11:00 am and from 15:00 pm to 18:00 pm but prior reservation and confirmation is required. A minimum of 20 people need to attend before a tour can be arranged though, so gather some families together and make for an educational, fun (and tasty) day out!
For more information, you can visit their site.
U-Pick at Farm 182
U-Pick at Farm 182 is tucked away in Al Rahba, Abu Dhabi. Their organic produce is both ESMA and EU certified and is much cheaper than what you’ll find in any grocery store! If you aren’t in the picking mood, there’s a small stand by the entrance for fresh picked veggies to-go, however, if your children have tagged along, be prepared to go on a fruit and veg picking adventure.
There are no guided tours, however the staff do explain the layout of the farm before you go on your own picking expedition. Remember to take your own basket and put your walking shoes on and you’ll be traipsing through soil and uneven sand, so high heels are a no-no. Children of all ages are allowed and the farm opens its gates every Saturday from 09:00am until 16:00 pm for ‘Pick Your Own Vegetables’ which makes a really fun day out.
For more info, visit www.igruae.com
There are several areas to live in Dubai that offer their own community farms, designed to produce their own organic produce to sustain the communities that live there. The Sustainable City has 5 clusters of villas that are connected to a farm that produces vegetables and herbs, and you can read more about their farm here:
Another such community is Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) who have set up a farm to encourage families to grow fruit and vegetables over the winter months. This is open to Cedre and Semmer Villas tenants only and parents and children are invited to join in to participate in the scheme, where they are each given a plot of land, equipped with irrigation, to grow their own vegetables through the Winter until Spring each year. We’re all for initiatives like this that get our children out in the great outdoors and all of this will help to grow their interest in sustainability and the environment.
Yas Farm is situated between Al Ain and Abu Dhabi and produces daily fresh organic produce with a difference. They offer chickens, turkeys, ducks, pigeons, and rabbits as well as eggs and raw goats and camel milk.
Before farming their own products, they used to import food but they needed to use chemicals to keep it fresh and unspoilt before arrival. That is when Royal family guard, Mohammed Salama, turned his hidden passion of farming into a reality to bring us quality, organic meat daily. He aims to provide the public with organic food that is much cheaper than other organic food in the region.
The farm supports biodynamic farming principles and produces its own water that nurtures the land and produces the crops that the animals eat. This farm has banned the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) on their crops, and has banned the use of hormones and antibiotics on its farm animals meaning their customers get the real deal!
Their shop is open daily from 9:00-21:00 daily in Abu Dhabi, and their owner Mohammad says that he’d like to invite visitors to the farm very soon. In the meantime if you would like to place an order for delivery, you can email Yas Farm at email@example.com
Greenheart Organic Farms was founded in 2012 by a lady with a genuine desire to grow the best possible organic produce in a difficult farming environment. They began with a weekly delivery service of Mixed Vegetable Boxes to Arabian Ranches and soon after, they launched an online shopping service and they now have a store in Arjan near Miracle Gardens.
Greenheart offer an option that you can actually visit their farm too. They invite Dubai’s residents to take part in an “educational adventure” where you get a tour of the farm and are shown how they grow amazing organic produce in the middle of the desert!
Unfortunately, there’s sometimes a waiting list to visit and the farm visits are for Greenheart customers only but if you would like to find out more or contact them to book a visit, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
So with all this inspiration for fresh, tasty and healthy produce, all that’s left for you to do is decide which one you’ll go to!