The Farm House: Going Local; Going Fresh; Going Green
I have people around me who swear by ‘organic’ food. I have been told time and time again that it has all kinds of benefits and it’s something I should consider buying too. So that got me thinking – what does it really mean to be ‘organic’, should I buy organic food?
So what does it mean to be ‘organic’? It simply means that the produce is free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering.
Now to the million dollar question – should I buy ‘organic’? Taste: Obviously, whether organic foods taste better is a matter of, well, taste… so that is something I will have to leave up to you to decide. Price: At most supermarkets, organic produce comes at a premium price. Part of it is a matter of supply and demand, and part of it is that organic produce, meat, and dairy often require more money to grow than conventional goods. But if you buy local seasonally grown veggies and fruits, you’ll save money. But at the end of the day, whether or not the price is right depends on you and your budget. Nutritional value: Organic foods may have higher nutritional value than conventional food, according to some research. The reason: In the absence of pesticides and fertilizers, plants boost their production of vitamins and antioxidants that strengthen their resistance to bugs and weeds. Environmentally friendly: Organic farming reduces pollutants in groundwater and creates richer soil that aids plant growth while reducing erosion. Organic farming also uses less energy than conventional farming methods.
My recommendation: If you can afford it, buy local and organic. If you can’t always afford organic, spend the extra money on
what the Environmental Working Group (EWG) calls the “dirty dozen” (although the list now has more than 12): apples, peaches, strawberries, nectarines, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cucumbers, Cherry tomatoes, potatoes, hot peppers and Kale/Collard greens. These fragile fruits and vegetables often require more pesticides to fight off bugs compared to the “Clean Fifteen” – asparagus, avocados, cabbage, cantaloupe, cauliflower, eggplant, grapefruit, kiwi, mangoes, onions, papaya, pineapple, sweet corn, sweet peas and sweet potatoes.
In the not so hot months in Dubai (well you will agree Dubai has only two seasons – hot and not so hot) I know quite a few people who make a faithful pilgrimage every week to the Farmers Market on the Terrace (near Emirates Towers) or to Ripe Market (Zabeel Park). It’s a locally inspired, community-based initiative which proves to be a great day out with the family – you breakfast, you browse and then you buy some of the freshest veggies and fruits in Dubai – organic, locally produced and of very high quality.
I am all about supporting local farmers, local produce and especially local effort. I am sure it’s not easy growing produce in a desert and it requires investment, manpower and a whole lot of dedication and patience. These open air markets shut down in the summer months, but for the farmers the show must go on. And I always wondered what the farmers did during those months – where did they sell their produce? How do people who are absolutely pro-organic get their weekly fix?
The Farm House at the Change Initiative. Well that is one of the answers.
I was invited to a beautifully laid out breakfast at the Change Initiative where all the dishes were cooked up by the Taste Initiative using ingredients available from The Farm House. It was both a visual delight and the taste of the dishes were flavourful, rich and absolutely yum.
The sweet tooth craving was satiated by some fantastic desserts presented by Suzzanne Hussseini (Scones) and Alice Scuratti (Torta SBrisolona and Baci di Dama and Apple Pie) from the wonderful Fatto in Casa.
All products at The Farm House are organic and come from local farms. From fruits and vegetables to eggs, chicken, meat, honey, dates and freshly baked organic bread – everything is of the finest quality. This is a great initiative where you can support small businesses and local farmers. But most importantly lead healthier, happier lives, for yourselves and your families.
At the end of the day, food and healthy eating has always been about enjoying everything in a balanced way, where the use of good ingredients all have a place in our diets and where a ‘healthy’ approach to food, and eating better is what we must all strive to achieve.
Location: The Farm House, Sheikh Zayed Road (Beside Ibis Hotel, Barsha 1), Open Sun-Wed 10am-10pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. Tel: 800 824
The Farm House, Souq Al Manzil, Downtown Dubai. Open every day (except friday) from 8 am untill 10 pm and Friday 2pm to 10pm. Tel: 04 3617577.
Disclosure: I was invited by The Farm House to a breakfast to introduce the opening at the Change Initiative. However I would like to mention that no one but me dictates my editorial content and hence all that is written on my blog is absolutely my own opinion, my own interpretation and my very own thought-flow.