Farmers' markets once conjured up images of food-conscious hippies, but as the virtues of locally produced foods catch on, local farm stands are entering the mainstream. As The National reported yesterday, Abu Dhabi is getting in on the act.
Three new farm outlets have opened in the emirate - in Liwa, Sila and on Muroor Road in the capital. Originally pioneered 25 years ago by Sheikh Zayed, the founder of the UAE, these small stores were shut down briefly but are now reopening. Today they are luring Abu Dhabi consumers with fresh, healthy and sustainable produce.
The return of regional farm markets is good news for almost everyone. Farmers have a venue for selling their goods closer to home, meaning less spent on transport. Cutting down on shipping costs also reduces the carbon footprint associated with food production.
Consumers will benefit too. By sourcing produce and dairy products from roughly 300 Al Gharbia farms, shops will stock everything from gourds to oranges, broccoli to beetroot. And they will often do so with lower prices. Cherry tomatoes, for one, sell for a fraction of the price found at larger chain stores.
Locally sourced food on plates is a key part of eating well. What's more, it's also a smart planning move. At a time when food scarcity is on people's minds, food grown closer to home is a very tasty proposition.