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An organic farm shop opens – in Dubai

April 15, 2010

As an avid reader of cookery books and food blogs, living in the United Arab Emirates, I have always felt a sense of longing when I read about seasonal recipes and local produce.   Heidi Swanson of 101 Cook Books often talks about fabulous artisan producers and farmers in the San Fransisco area with beautiful photos of the ingredients to match and I revel in the farmers market in Tavistock when I’m in the UK in the summer.  I will be wistful no longer and cannot contain my excitement at a real-live, organic farm shop opening a few streets away from my house in Umm Suqeim, Dubai.  The shop is right next to the most enormous orange mosque and looks more like a boutique from the outside.  When you open the door the fresh, astringent scent of basil and tomatoes hits you.  I expected cardboard boxes and a slightly homespun interior but nothing could be further from the truth.  Scrolled white wooden units line the walls, stylish prints of vegetables (plus a few camels) provide decoration, your shopping basket is made of natural twine, you put your goods into brown paper bags – the whole shop oozes cozy chic.

I’m not sure where Nazwa Organic Farm is located in the UAE (today’s Gulf News article says the Hatta Road).  I forgot to ask the delightful Elena who runs the farm, organises a vegetable box delivery round on Arabian Ranches,  and has launched the farm shop (all while heavily pregnant and seeing to the needs of a boisterous toddler).  Every day the shop is filled with organic produce from the farm that is picked early that morning.  I visited in the afternoon when the shelves has started to empty.  While I’m delighted with the aesthetics the real bonus is the provenance of the food and the fantastic fresh taste – and by the way the prices are very reasonable.  On my first visit I bought crisp fennel which is delicious sliced and eaten raw with a dip – it bears no relation to the harsh, aniseed taste that you get from the uniform bulbs from Dutch greenhouses.  I needed curly parsley for a fish pie and was given a fragrant bunch the size of a small bouquet.   The cherry and beef tomatoes ooze sweetness and flavour without having the thick skin so beloved of mass producers (which make them easier to transport).  This shop is such a revelation for a country that imports most of its fruit and vegetables that customers can’t help exclaiming their delight to each other.  It’s like we’ve been invited to join a fabulous, secret club.  The only difficulty I had was not to buy something of everything.  Elena has been so busy that she hasn’t set up her online presence – and word of mouth is doing pretty well.  So if you’re in Dubai and would like a map – drop me a line in the comments box and I can send you one or download it here  OrganicShop – just don’t buy all the tomatoes before I arrive. PS I’ve had so many requests for the phone number – the shop said I could put it up, so here it is: 04 348 3333 and there is a lovely video that you might like too – click here.

Update: Since writing this post, the lovely Nazwa Farm shop has closed.  You might be interested in Salata which home delivers fresh, local vegetables in Dubai (not organic).

27 Comments
  1. Lise Stokes permalink
    April 15, 2010 8:36 am

    Please send me address and/or map for the organic shop.

    Thanks

  2. paul permalink
    April 15, 2010 9:45 am

    would very much appreciate a map or telephone number! thanks.

  3. Eri permalink
    April 15, 2010 10:19 am

    Please sent me the map or telephone number. Thank you.

  4. Cat permalink
    April 16, 2010 6:06 pm

    Ooooh thanks for posting the map, have been searching for this since I heard about the shop, am so very excited! C

    • April 16, 2010 6:53 pm

      It’s well worth the excitement.

  5. Lolita permalink
    April 19, 2010 1:20 pm

    Please can we have the contact number of the shop. I hope to visit it this weekend.

    • April 19, 2010 6:33 pm

      Sorry – don’t have number of shop. You can download the map though.

  6. rose permalink
    April 23, 2010 11:36 am

    hi plz email me the map of the organic

  7. April 29, 2010 7:43 am

    Please send me a phone number to the shop

    • April 29, 2010 8:31 am

      The phone number is 04 3483333. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  8. Pleas send me the location map of the shop. permalink
    May 1, 2010 1:21 pm

    It would be better to have Nazwa organic farm in Deirra.

    • May 1, 2010 1:52 pm

      Looking at the shelves today I think they are struggling to keep up with the increased demand for their lovely produce. Wouldn’t it be great if the UAE invested in solar technology and the infrastructure to make more of these farms viable so we could all have access to vegetables freshly picked that morning, without chemicals, a few streets away. Have sent map to you. Thanks for visiting my blog.

  9. Karen Reynolds permalink
    June 9, 2010 2:25 pm

    I must go and check it out Sally! Directions would be great thanks

  10. sonia permalink
    August 1, 2010 8:22 pm

    http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/uae/environment/organic-outlets-in-dubai-close-down-1.662212

    it has been closed 😦 any other organice place (aside from the one in Dubai mall)?

    • August 1, 2010 8:31 pm

      There are other organic farms including one that showed their produce at the Souk al Bahar farmers market which I think will open again September. None seemed as switched on or ethical as Nazwa to my mind.

  11. sonia permalink
    August 2, 2010 6:45 am

    thank you Sally…

  12. sonia permalink
    September 11, 2010 6:53 pm

    hi sally, do you happen to know if the souk al bahar market is now open and what time/day are they open?

    • September 11, 2010 9:20 pm

      Do you know this is on my ‘to-do’ list. I was thinking about phoning Baker & Spice to find out when it will start again as they had a lot to do with the organisation I think. I’ll let you know if I can find out anything – or would appreciate any info if you manage to get some. 🙂

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