It's time to head to the Ripe Food & Craft Market

Disha Dadlani
Filed on December 14, 2017 | Last updated on December 14, 2017 at 06.11 am
Its time to head to the Ripe Food & Craft Market

An opportunity for entrepreneurs, a haven for Instagrammers, and the ideal weekend spot for the health conscious, the Ripe Food and Craft Market is back for its sixth season this year in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The market opens to the public every weekend at Zabeel Park, Dubai (Fridays) 9am-4pm, Al Barsha Pond Park (Saturdays) 10am-8pm, and at Umm Al Emarat Park, Abu Dhabi (Saturdays) from 3pm-9pm and runs until April 2018.

The market offers residents and tourists alike a variety of homegrown produce, organic fruits and vegetables (from Ripe Organic Farms and other local farmers), options of live cooking stations and entertainment, and unique arts, craft, fashion and jewellery items. You may perhaps want to participate in the market as a vendor to materialise a hobby, and to get out of a rut.

Take for instance, Charles Jabbour, a vendor at the Ripe Market. On other days, he's busy managing his arts and handicrafts gallery store in Radisson Blu, Deira Creek. But since the past few weeks, however, he's been dedicating his weekends to Mangobeat - a stall that offers natural and ecological wood speakers for smartphones. Mangobeat, he says, is an interesting spin on the concept of placing a phone in a drinking glass to amplify the sound. The wood and leather speakers run on no batteries, wires or electricity.

"Last year, I set up a stall to sell mosaic jewellery and a mix match of different kinds of art. I was mainly testing and gauging the market, to understand the crowd before introducing the wood speakers this year. A friend of mine, who is a sound engineer, came up with the idea when we were in Thailand some five years ago. At that time I doubted his idea, but now I think it's a great product. The response to this one-of-a-kind product has been great," Charles said.

With its unique array of authentic items such as local raw honey, organic eggs, tea and coffee, the Ripe Food and Craft Market is a platform that brings together locals, expats and tourists to share their love for everything fresh, organic, and homegrown.

With an aim to fuel nostalgia through food, vendor Aisha whips up some delicious treats with her cousins at her stall - Aisha's Farmhouse. "Our main concept is to try to revisit Emirati cuisine," she says while simultaneously cooking a delicacy - Regag Bread.

"We call it Aisha's Farmhouse because most of our ingredients are sourced from our farm. The eggs and tomatoes for instance are from our farm," says Aisha.

Head to Aisha's Farmhouse to taste some delectable local cuisine garnished with dollops of tradition and culture. "We also serve Mahyawa - an Emirati delicacy made of dried fish. My grandmother would crush the dried fish into powder, add spices to it, mix it with water, and then leave it to ferment for around a month. It was a lot harder for her to cook, because she would use coal. The various recipes we've brought to the market today have been passed on by my grandmother to my mother and her sister, and finally to us cousins," Aisha adds.

Activities for kids at the market include a petting zoo, a soft play area, face painting, and a kids gym.
If you've already attended the weekend events, Ripe Organic's pop-up markets too should interest you - at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic Club Tournament (January 25-28). In Abu Dhabi, the market makes additional appearances at Jones the Grocer in Al Raha Gardens every Monday, and at The Collection, St Regis, Saadiyat Island on Fridays.

With so much happening at the market, are you ready to ditch your regular grocery shopping habits and head to the Ripe Food and Craft Market this season, instead?

How to become a vendor in the market
The Ripe Food and Craft Market is open to anyone with a passion to create, innovate, and sell. Ideas may overlap, but distinct styles are always ensured. Complete the online registration available on their website and send it to markets@ripeme.com. As elaborated on the website, the basic criteria required are the company name, a trade license, and a social media presence.

Stalls to look out for this season
Fluke Imagery: Photographer David Dunn encapsulates his love for the UAE in frames and on handmade wooden boxes. The photos, he claims, have been clicked by 'fluke'.
Flourish: Enjoy the weather all the more with a variety of Dubai and Abu Dhabi's freshest and most beautiful flowers.
Coconut Man:  Hand cut and served fresh to help you kick start the day, fresh coconuts are just the post workout energy you need.
DOH Mini Doughnuts:  They serve delicious, bite-size mini doughnuts and simultaneously drive across a message to recycle their buckets.
Lady Mauve:  Get your urban fashion fix with a collection that boasts of boho style jewellery and kimonos. 
-  disha@khaleejtimes.com

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