“We don’t think of ourselves as just a fruit and veg company.” Ripe
Another welcome edition to the Abu Dhabi organic scene, Ripe Food & Craft Market (source:www.ripeme.com)
It’s fair to say that the Abu Dhabi organic scene has seen some rapid expansion over the last month, with the opening of the new Organic Foods and Café in Nation Galleria (read about that here) and now the extremely popular Ripe Market has taken up permanent residence at The Collection every Saturday at the St Regis Resort on Saadiyat Island.
The Collection courtyard is a perfect spot for an outdoor market
The capital’s newest market started on the 15th November and the teenager and I visited on the second week during the F1 weekend. I found it to be the perfect place to pick up local and seasonal fruit and vegetables for the week as well as stock cupboard supplies such as seeds, pulses, oils, honey, eggs and even the teenagers favourite tea brand, Tea Pigs.
Colourful and fresh produce all beautiful packaged and displayed
Plenty of cupboard stock items available
The weekly market, which runs on Saturday from 10am – 2pm seasonally has a variety of organic food, superfoods, crafts, jewellery, home-wares, clothing, accessories, children’s toys, decorations and art stalls and is also a great place to stop for a coffee or bite to eat at the mediterranean inspired Collection’s many restaurants and cafes. We purchased a couple of cute and good quality bracelets from handmade jewellery stall, the teenagers was a shade of pink of course.
The Ripe Market is a vegetarians paradise
Live music from a solo guitarist gave extra ambience and the market is a great place for families, young and old and equally an excellent place to take visitors for a meander and buy a souvenir of two, after all who doesn’t want some tasty, beautifully packaged local dates to take home. Easily accessible on Saadiyat Island, there really is no excuse to visit and the weathers so perfect at the moment too.
Chilled out music filled the air
It was hard not to be impressed with the range of fresh produce available at the Ripe stalls, all laid out in a fantastic display of colourful goodness and if like us, you are a fan of green smoothies then it’s a perfect place to pick up vital ingredients such as kale, spinach, bananas, oranges and lemons as well as chia seeds and cacao nibs (read about Green Smoothies here and the benefits of Chia seeds here). In fact, I was told that kale is the most popular and requested vegetable at the market due to its healthy properties and competitive pricing compared to the capitals supermarkets.
We tried out a green juice from the Essentially stall which contained cucumber, celery, apple, spinach, parsley, lemon and ginger. A strong flavoured cold-pressed juice which I found quite strong to taste (my sweet tooth let me down) was organic, 100% raw and full of nutrients, giving you a recharge and a boost of energy. Essentially offers a range of juices and even a cleanse programme where you can pick and mix to create your own package. For more information visit www.essentially.ae.
Dubai based Sunny’s Pop sells Texas gourmet popcorn in various flavours.
Produce is sourced from local UAE farms
Alongside the organic juice stand there were stalls selling a range of olives, gourmet popcorn, coconut yogurt and for those with a sweet tooth there was gelato and doughnuts from Love Doughnuts.
Pretty colourful bunting hangs across the courtyardHome-wares and jewellery stalls sit side-by-side
Ripe is the brainchild of British expat Becky Balderstone who saw a gap in the market when she moved to the UAE after being unable to source seasonal and organic local produce like that available in the UK. In a bid to offer healthy produce and using her husband’s knowledge of local agriculture, she launched the Ripe Box in 2011 which contained a selection of seasonal fruit and vegetables from local UAE farms. Two years ago she introduced the Ripe Market concept to Dubai and more recently added another new addition to the Ripe empire, the Ripe Farm shop located in Al Manara in Dubai. The farm shop is filled with organic fruit and vegetables, gluten-free produce, super foods, cheeses and snacks.
Local crafters and artisans offer their wares in the courtyard setting at the new Ripe Market in Abu Dhabi
A selection of local art
A new hat is an ideal purchase for the UAE’s sunny climate
The Ripe Market, which is well established and popular in Dubai since 2012 and more recently in Sharjah, was initially well received by the capitals residents in its pop-up smaller weekly offering at Jones the Grocer in Al Raha’s Garden Plaza (every Monday 10am – 1pm) and judging by the crowds and the feedback the new venture at The Collection is a great success too. I can thoroughly recommend a visit to this new weekly community event to experience the Ripe Market for yourself and pick up some lovely goodies. Why not grab a juice while you’re there and take home a Ripe box full of healthy goodness to enjoy with the family.
Shoppers can take home a Ripe box filled with fresh organic and seasonal produce
Fresh and delicious local Arabian dates, good to eat and great as an edible gift or souvenir
If I was asked for my feedback, I would have to say that market was much smaller than I had expected and it lacked the ready-to-eat cooked food options (which I promised/bribed the teenager with) synonymous with its Dubai counterpart. I was informed by a member of the Ripe team that due to the availability of food and drink from The Collection’s already established outlets the ready-to-eat stalls were omitted from the Abu Dhabi market. Maybe its popularity will encourage more vendors to participate and the market will expand over time, lets hope so anyway.
Reusable ego bag is free with every Ripe purchase
Our Ripe Market haul
For more information, news and even some recipes visit the Ripe website www.ripeme.com
You can also check out all the latest Ripe news and updates on Facebook, Instagram (ripefresh) and Twitter (@ripeme)
Ripe Markets take place as follows:
Abu Dhabi – St Regis, The Collection every Saturday 10am – 2pm
Sharjah – Al Majaz Waterfront every Saturday 9am – 2pm
Ripe Pop-Up Market – Abu Dhabi, Jones the Grocer, Al Raha Gardens 10am – 1pm
The Ripe Farm Shop is open Sunday – Thursday 8.30am to 6pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm (Closed on Fridays).
Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2014. All rights reserved.