Inside Qatar's first artisan and organic farmers market
Yes, you read that right. Fruit and vegetables. Growing. In a desert country. It's true: Qatar now has its own locally-sourced organic farmers market!
While there are a few existing wholesale markets selling fresh produce in Qatar, I've been deterred from visiting them because they're usually quite far out of town and require you to buy fruit and vegetables in bulk. And as much as I love tomatoes, I will never be able to finish a kilogram of them by myself before they go bad. Sorry, dear farmers.
Then I heard about Torba ('soil' in Arabic), which is not only in a convenient and beautiful location, but also sells organic produce in quantities someone without a family of six could consume. Was this Qatar's answer to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market I loved in Cape Town?
Weeks before they opened, the Torba Farmers Market team began sharing their plans to offer vegan and dairy-free food, and asked attendees to bring their own eco-friendly reusable shopping bags.
This settled it: my little inner environmentalist was obsessed, and I began stalking their Instagram account for clues about the opening date.
The farmers market opened in mid-November, and had a pretty successful first weekend from what I could see. There were enterprising makers, bakers, growers and cooks selling everything from handmade sourdough bread to vegan crepes, nut butters, energy bites, granola, sandwiches, salads, pies and juices.
I visited on the first and second day, and it was busy on both occasions - so busy that a few of the stalls sold all their products before midday.
A number of local farms supplied organic herbs, fruit and vegetables to the market, along with seeds and seedlings for those ambitious enough to grow their own. There were also workshops from the Hobby House Qatar team and handcrafts on sale, as well as performances by local musicians.
For a country known for skyscrapers and sand dunes, the Torba Farmers Market is an awesome alternative weekend spot for residents and a chance for visitors to sample handmade and local food. I'm excited to see how it grows from here!
What: Torba Farmers Market
Where: Ceremonial Court, Education City, Al Luqta Street, Al Rayyan, Doha
When: Thursdays (09:00 - 16:00) and Fridays (08:00 - 11:00 and 14:00 - 17:00), November 2017 - February 2018
More info: http://www.farmersmarket.qa/