Time Out Doha takes a trip out of the city to Safwa farm, and learns a little about tomatoes…and broccoli…and some other vegetables.
Getting local produce is very difficult in Doha. Genuinely, how many people are that bothered where the produce is from or how it got here? But attitudes about the carbon footprint are slowly changing and a focus on sustainability is becoming more prominent. There is a shift to going green (in more ways than one) and a willingness to enjoy the freshest produce, plucked from just down the road. In this respect, Al Safwa farm fits the bill perfectly.
Al Safwa farm
Al Safwa farm is a private farm owned and operated by Nasser Ali bin Khamis Al-Kawari with his brothers and sisters, founded in 1965. The farm provides an excellent view into current agricultural production in Qatar. It is a farm in transition – one that is moving to sustainable, high-efficiency production methods suited to the arid climate of the Gulf, and is beginning to make waves in restaurants and supermarkets as they begin to go local.
It is a good example of a small-to medium-sized enterprise that produces vegetables for the domestic market, serving both household consumers and renowned chefs with trusted and local produce. Employing conservative use of water and energy resources and practical agricultural methods, the Al-Kawari family has been able to grow a variety of high-quality produce, overcoming many challenges presented by the desert climate.
Farm changing over time
When it was founded in 1965, Al Safwa farm grew a limited variety of vegetables in open fields. Annual yields were relatively small and were simply distributed to family and friends.
In 2000, Nasser Al-Kawari began investing heavily in developing and improving the farm and started producing vegetables on a commercial scale. The investments have been focused primarily on building greenhouses to extend the productive growing season, conserve water, reduce the demand for other inputs and protect crops from the harsh climate. Now, the farm produce is cultivated on a much larger, commercial scale, and is reaping the rewards, but still with the same family principles, ethics and ethos that it holds so dear.
A large range of produce is grown at the farm, some of which, in one designated area, is certified organic, with a vision to become fully-organic by 2018. Green beans, cucumbers, aubergines, peppers, courgettes, tomatoes, broccoli and much more are grown on the farm, with a passionate team trying to make the tastiest and freshest produce for people to enjoy.
These products can be found at Monoprix, and are used by chefs at the Diplomatic Club, Chef’s Garden near Al Shaqab, W hotel, Crowne Plaza and Angelina, and a first hand, straight-out-the-ground taste leaves the Time Out team satisfied.
So isn’t it time we all supported local, healthy produce and helped kick-start a green revolution? Courgettes at the ready!
To find out more about the farm and the produce, email Olfa Guetata on firstname.lastname@example.org.