Qatar’s popular farmers markets are set to re-open for the winter season from Dec. 4, with a third site in Al Wakrah planned to open by the end of the year.
Run by the Ministry of Environment (MoE), the markets aim to bring Qatar-grown, fresh produce direct to customers throughout the winter months.
The first market in Qatar to sell fresh fruit and vegetables was established two years ago in Umm Salal, and is called Al Mazrouah yard.
In January this year, a second site opened at Al Khor and Al Dhakhira yard, in front of Al Khor hospital, and both markets expanded their offerings into fish and meat.
They ran until mid-May this year, when the onset of the warmer weather heralded their summer break.
Farmers markets have long been popular in Europe and the US, encouraging people to reduce their food miles by buying locally sourced goods from often small-time, artisan producers.
The trend appears to be catching on in Qatar, as more people know about and attend the markets. During the 2013/14 winter season, Al Mazrouah more than doubled it sale of produce, to 1,993 tons, compared to 837 tons last year.
In its first week of operation in January, the Al Khor and Al Dhakira market alone sold 50 tons of fruit and vegetables from 22 farms in Qatar, the MoE said.
Te produce on sale included lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, melon and strawberries, as well as local honey, with the markets open from Thursday to Saturday, 7am until 5pm.
In addition to 974 tons of fresh fruit sold last year, 33 tons of fish, 590 sheep, goats, cows and camels and 4,000 chickens were also sold.
However, last year some residents called from an improvement to the amenities at the market sites, citing poor access roads, and a need for better parking provisions.
They also called for the introduction of a cafe, a dedicated fish-cleaning site and a slaughter house, the Gulf Times reported.
Do you plan to go to one of the markets this year? Thoughts?