Pick your own organic farm in Abu Dhabi

This year we decided to celebrate our traditional harvest festival on the farm by picking our own fresh organic harvest. I have amazing memories from my childhood of worshipping fresh harvest during this festival, so I thought what could be a better way to give Ruhaan a farm experience on this occasion. Read here all about Indian harvest festival.

Our Organic Farm Experience

So we arrived at Al Rahba Organic Farm 182, early afternoon. Typical sounds of farm animals welcomed us. There is shop just as you enter, but like many other families, we decided to pick a basket and started our tour to freshly smelling organic farm. The tours are not arranged on the farm but the staff on the farm are very friendly and guide you where to find what on the farm. We were rather happy to have such homely treatment on the farm as we could spend as much time we wanted in each vegetable patch. First, we picked eggplants. It was a great opportunity to teach him about how food grows and some essential techniques for picking the right size, ripe produce. Ruhaan was totally excited to pick fresh produce and carried his basket everywhere till it got a bit heavy.

Pulling carrots was one of his most favorite activity on the farm that day. Believe me, picking fresh produce on the farm is a great physical activity for your kids, especially if you are like me looking for filling the quota of daily physical activity of a very active child!

When in the field Ruhaan asked me what is that, I realized this is the first time he was seeing scarecrow from so close. So I explained to him how this helps to keep birds away from the crops else, they will eat most the vegetables and fruits which are growing here.

Then we went on to pick some peppers in greenhouses. To our surprise, there were tons of colorful peppers, bell peppers or capsicums to pick from. So we picked a good number of red, orange, green, yellow peppers from the capsicum creepers.  We also got to see, tomato plants, but tomatoes were still green and not ripe yet, so we couldn’t pick fresh tomatoes.

Next, we picked zucchinis from the outdoor patch along with celery sticks and kale. Frankly some of these vegetables even I was picking the first time. There is a noticeable difference between the smell, texture & also taste of fresh organic vegetables and the smell of general vegetables we find in regular supermarkets. At the end, I couldn’t resist picking some rocket leaves and mint. The mint smell was so refreshing!

While we were randomly walking around the farm, we saw small fig trees and some moringa trees, which is popularly known as the drumstick.

I even noticed a huge pile of compost and later confirmed with one of the staff of the farm. The smell of organic farm was so nostalgic overall, it took me back to my grandma’s garden where she used to use only leftover food or food scraps to fertilize her garden, but hardly then she knew that she has an urban organic garden! The farm 182, is certified organic by local ESMA & EU.

 

No farm experience can be complete without farm animals. Ruhaan particularly loved feeding goats some of our carrot shoots. There is also a small poultry farm on the farm 182 and you can also buy fresh organic eggs there.

After a fabulous time on the farm, when I went to pay for the produce we picked I was surprised to find such fantastic rates of organic produce. Firstly there are no fees for picking your own activity, the whole experience is for free and the organic produce is so much cheaper than supermarkets. I bought two full baskets of fresh organic vegetables for just 50 Dirhams.

 

You can find more about Al Rahba Farm 182 here and here are GPS coordinates 24.611083,54.695732.

Now Don’t forget to watch this video ‘ Top 10 Reasons why you should take your Kids to Farms’ and see us picking fresh organic produce on Farm 182.

Farm To Table Dinner

My favorite way of cooking starts with picking fresh produce. So you could imagine, my excitement after reaching home to make a Farm to Table dinner for us to celebrate our harvest festival. I opted to prepare a vegan meal out of what we picked on the farm.

Here is our yummy dinner: Zucchini pasta, Tomato cucumber salad with mint, Sauteed kale and carrot shoots in olive oil with garlic. This kind of unprocessed, vegan Zucchini pasta I made the first time. You just need to peel zucchini with a peeler to make flat noodles like pasta. You can just make one-pot zucchini pasta as cooking time for zucchini noodles is very short as compared to wheat pasta. It actually a great low-calorie pasta too!

What made me most happy that Ruhaan loved the dinner and ate vegetables like zucchini, which he is not too fond of. But I am sure kids learn to look at food differently when they see how that vegetable is grown or if they are part of growing or picking that vegetable!

Farms in UAE

There are many farms in UAE, but not all farms are accessible to the public. For example, the community farms in The Sustainable City and Dubai Silicon Oasis are open to their own residents only. Green Heart Organic farm is popular but very difficult to visit, they do have waiting lists as well just for visiting their farm. A few years back I tried to book my visit following their procedures but could never visit that farm. Desert Farm Organic situated in Al Khawaneej in Dubai is open to the public every Saturday. You can also visit Organic Oasis if you do prior group booking.

Sometime back we visited a Dairy Farm in Dubai, read here how it was an interesting experience for kids.

But I would highly recommend visiting traditional farms in our neighboring country too, where the network of falaj watering system is being used since years for terrace farming on mountains. Read here our first-hand experience of visiting Oman’s UNESCO world heritage listed site Terrace farms of Misfat and Rose gardens on Saiq Plateau of Jebel Akhdar.

Now there is always a question if traditional farming is sustainable in UAE? But no surprise that most of these organic farms in UAE are closed during summer and that is good otherwise they will consume a huge amount of water, that will increase the carbon footprint of food grown on the traditional farms. But when they are open in winter, they provide us locally grown food, which is sustainable and great educational experience to our kids about where our food comes from?

We loved our farm experience so much that I am adding it to our Top Eco Experience Places in UAE. If you would like to know more about such experiences and places in UAE and beyond? Then be part our Tribe by subscribing here.

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I am a Sustainability Professional. I have worked on many green building projects in the

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