Mawasim Organic market at WTC Mall offers local, organic produce
Finding local, freshly picked, organic produce in the capital just got easier. The new Mawasim Organic Market in Abu Dhabi’s World Trade Center Mall now offers a fresh batch every Friday. The market, launched in May, will operate indoors throughout the summer months and when the weather cools, it will evolve into a bigger market outside the mall.
Mawasim is a new, 55-hectare organic farm about 45 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi. Though it’s only the farm’s first season in production, you may already recognise the name: Mawasim’s organic fruits and vegetables are already on the shelves of major supermarket chains across the country.
The market at WTC Mall is the first time Mawasim has sold directly to consumers.
“We’re proud of the products we produce and we want to be able to explain to our customers what organic production exactly entails,” says Michiel ten Duis, the marketing director for Mawasim. “This way we can tell them more about what can be produced in the desert and that a healthy way of living can be achieved by eating locally during a big part of the season.”
Mawasim has one managing director and eight agriculture experts in fields such as irrigation, organic farming and farm technology. There are about 200 staff on the farm, which grows more than 50 different fruits, vegetables and herbs. Mawasim’s locally grown crops include bananas, figs, grapes, lemons, limes, beans, broccoli, carrots, green and purple kale, okra, melons, onions, a variety of lettuces and peppers and more than 10 different herbs. Seeds are planted in August and the first harvest is in mid-September. Even in the hot weather, some products such as potatoes, onions and carrots can be grown in open fields. Sweetcorn, watermelon and okra also do well in the heat. Others, such as tomatoes and cucumbers, are grown in net houses. The farm uses green houses and glass houses, too.
Consumers are often surprised to hear just how much can be grown locally.
Ten Duis says: “If you use the correct technology and the right knowledge, you can do a lot here regarding local production. We want to further develop that and give people the opportunity to eat healthy and local all year round.”
In the intense heat of summer, when production slows, Mawasim will import organic produce to ensure their brand stays competitive. Right now, they’re importing from Holland, Spain and Argentina. Each of Mawasim’s products is packed in recyclable carton boxes and labelled “organic and local” or simply “organic”. Ten Duis says, “All products sold at our market or carrying our brand name will always be 100 per cent organic and certified.”
• Mawasim Organic Market is open from 2pm to 8pm on Fridays on the ground level of WTC Mall. In collaboration with the mall, the market will also feature artisans selling locally made crafts, artwork and other products. Visit www.mawasim.ae
Updated: June 9, 2015 04:00 AM