1 It’s all organic
We’ve heard enough about the benefits of naturally grown and raised foods to keep us going until the (organic) cows come home, but relentlessly scouring the backs of food packages is not how we want to spend our time. At Ripe Markets across Dubai, all of the fruit and vegetables on offer come from Ripe Organic Farms and other local organic farmers, so you can fill your shopping basket without so much as a second thought about additives, preservatives, or any more of the bad stuff making its way into your kids’ lasagne and salads. As well as apples and pears, you’ll find local raw honey, organic eggs, dates, coconut oil and juicing boxes, and even dairy and gluten-free items. Result.
2 Get kitted out with pop-up boutiques
A wander around a Ripe Market is about more than just getting the groceries in, it is also an opportunity to scout out some of the region’s best local fashion and jewellery designers and pick up some original pieces for yourself. The regular Ripe Markets offer a range of rustic home wear, handmade jewellery, unique fashion and leather handbags that will make you go weak at the knees. And the Ripe Market pop-up at the Dubai Design District for Dubai Design Week will have fashionistas flocking to d3 like athletic runway models. The two-day market runs from 10am until 7pm on Friday November 17 and Saturday 18, where the cream of the fashion crop will congregate to showcase their work while looking charmingly stylish. There will also be workshops presented by the makers and designers themselves, too.
3 Enjoy some fresh air
A dally down to one of the markets is the perfect way to check out one of Dubai’s parks and enjoy the great outdoors. The Ripe Market at Zabeel Park runs from 9am to 4pm every Friday, and is set on a vast expanse of lush greenery where you can leisurely shop in the shady walkways. The market has more than 100 local businesses, including the best food outlets, artisans, designers, jewellers and entertainers around. Across town, the market at Al Barsha Pond Park runs every Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and is set on a 50-acre site surrounding a pretty man-made lake. The festivities continue after the sun sets and the region’s best food vendors are joined by local musicians and artists to provide you with entertainment as you shop under the stars.
4 Be creative with some arts and crafts
If we learned anything from watching ‘90s TV, it’s that there’s nothing you can’t achieve with some old newspaper and a bottle of PVA glue. Take some inspiration from the artistic artefacts on sale and get up to you and your kids’ elbows in glitter at one of the market’s many arts and craft stations. They’ll love it.
5 Get the brood’s blood pumping with a fitness workshop
After you’ve loaded up on fresh fruit and veg for the week, it’s time to have a celebratory stretch – straight into a yoga pose. There are fitness workshops available at each of the Ripe Market locations, offered by qualified instructors from the local area that the whole family can get involved in. This month, Ripe are teaming up with Golden Mile Galleria Palm Jumeirah for a pop-up market celebrating a healthy lifestyle. On Friday November 3 and Saturday November 4 and Friday November 10 and Saturday November 11 you can pick up the newest Ripe range including coconut oil, superfoods, smoothie mixes and honey, as well as enjoying a whole host of open-air fitness sessions from yoga, to HIIT and salsa dancing. There’s something for all fitness levels, including hip-hop lessons and kick-boxing. And on Friday November 3, Instagram fitness guru Kayla Itsiness will be leading a group workout that you’d do well to limber up for. Make sure you wear your lycra.
6 Fill your belly with tasty food
The Ripe Markets aren’t just about buying ingredients, there are any number of live cooking stations and food vendors whose wares you can sample as you work your way through the stalls. So even if you have no intention of putting chard to chopping board, you can mosey down and let the chefs do the hard work for you. There are also plenty of healthy juices available.
7 To entertain the kids
Gone are the days of dragging kids around supermarket aisles with the ever-looming threat of the public tantrum. Ripe Markets have plenty of activities to keep the younger foodies entertained, including craft stations, games, exercises and even petting zoos. Zabeel Park itself is the region’s first technology-themed park, and at 47.5 hectares it’s big enough to escape the bustle of the market and have a picnic. Al Barsha Park isn’t too shabby either, with basketball courts, football pitches and an outdoor gym.
8 You can get involved
If you can’t make it to the weekly markets, you can still get your organic food fix at the Ripe Farm shops in Al Manara, Town Centre, Palm Jumeirah and Park Centre Mirdif, and you can also order online with next-day delivery. Or, if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Del Boy, pitch up a stall and try flogging some wares of your own. And, if you’re feeling creative, anyone can apply to become a market vendor. Head to www.ripeme.com to fill in the online application form.
Free entry. Fri 9am-3pm. Zabeel Park, Sheikh Zayed Road; Sat 10am-8pm, Al Barsha Pond Park. www.ripeme.com (04 315 7000).
The amount of weekly markets currently running in Dubai, at Zabeel Park and Al Barsha Pond Park.
The number of Ripe Farm shops offering fresh, organic produce every day across the city.
The size in hectares of Zabeel Park, which is home to a full-sized cricket stadium, as well as the Ripe Market.
The number of local businesses that pitch up at every Ripe Market, including everyone from food vendors to artists.