Say hello to the UAE’s iconic RIPE Market, which is all about farm fresh produce, alfresco dining, supporting small homegrown businesses and is even approved by man’s best friend. For 2019, the brand-new season of the market’s outdoor edition comes complete with a newly-launched dog park run by Unleashed at the Police Academy Park, Umm Suqeim, Dubai.
In Abu Dhabi, visitors can take their blankets and deckchairs to the Umm Al Emarat Park every Saturday, from 3pm to 9pm, for their local Ripe Market experience. And it’s best to keep an eye on the official RIPE market channels for any changes to timings from week to week.
Other than RIPE’s own marquee with fresh fruits and veggies (we’ve spotted some juicy nectarines and fragrant herbs), there are stalls selling one-of-a-kind, artisanal and even fair trade certified products ranging from jewellery, fashion, homeware, fabrics, health foods, preserves, skincare and much more. With dozens of food concepts opening cooking stations and food trucks, plus live music, the atmosphere is truly carnivalesque.
Getting your RIPE Market fix in the summer isn’t hard either – the market simply moves to indoor venues, keeping the laidback vibe intact. In the past, the indoor edition has operated out of Dubai Festival City Mall, Times Square Centre and The Springs Souk on a more-or-less weekly basis. Every now and then, there are special pop-ups at places like Reform Social & Grill or The Ranches Souk at the Arabian Ranches. The Huntr has been a fan of the RIPE Market from its early days at Zabeel Park (all the images accompanying this piece are from that immensely popular location) but we love RIPE in all its avatars, wherever it goes.
For a little backstory into the whole phenomenon, Ripe started off in 2011 to offer the people of the UAE easy access to organic certified produce at affordable prices. The organisation sources quality seasonal fruits and vegetables from local, organic farms and as well as meat, eggs, milk, honey, tea, dairy alternatives and superfoods. Today, its activities cover the RIPE farm shops in Al Manara, Town Centre Mall, Jumeirah or on The Palm; RIPE home delivery which allows you to order fresh produce online; and RIPE Community which brings together likeminded people committed to the organic, artisanal journey.
Photography by Augustine Paredes and words by Shailaja Prashanth exclusively for The Huntr. These images first appeared in The Huntr’s exclusive guide to RIPE in the winter of 2017.