Veggies’ Paradise

The cacophony is unmistakable. You can hear it from a distance — vendors calling out to buyers, listing out the wares and their prices.

By Deepa Narwani (About Dubai)

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Published: Sun 28 Nov 2010, 12:32 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 4:11 PM

Piles of fresh fruits and vegetables greet you as you enter the Fruits and Vegetable Market, located in Ras Al Khor, close to International City.

You are surrounded by everything green and fresh at this huge, covered market. Round watermelons, pure red apples, succulent grapes and tempting dates can be found all around.

The vendors all wear blue T-shirts and are constantly on the lookout for customers in the competitive environment and offer cheap rates for the produce.

The market is half an hour’s drive from the heart of Dubai. The market is always awake and buzzing with people. The reason for people’s preference is not only the prices but also the opportunity to buy the fresh produce available, that too in bulk. Both locals and expatriates visit the market to buy the fresh stock.

The market was previously located in Hamriya and shifted to its present home eight years back. It spans over eight kilometres and houses 400 stalls. Both imported and local produce are on sale here.

It is a clean and open market area, well organised and easy to navigate.

Some vendors are stationed outside the market, in the parking area and sell their items from trolleys. When you are getting in or out of your car, they greet you with their produce, hoping to lure customers in making an impromptu purchase.

Saeed Toufique Elahi, a Bangladeshi vendor, has been a part of the Fruit and Vegetable Market for the past 18 years. He was among the vendors who shifted from Hamriya to the present location. He said, “My stall sells only fruits from around the world. We sell strawberry from Egypt, pears from Syria, mandarin from Turkey, custard apple from India, and many others. When the market was in Hamriya, it was more crowded. Here, there is enough space to lay out the fruits and accommodate more people. Every morning and especially on Thursdays and Fridays, the market is jam-packed with customers from all over the emirate.”

Mohammed Moosa is another old-timer who has worked at the market for the last 22 years. His stall (No. 208) mostly sells local produce. On display are fresh and green capsicums, okra, spinach, white, red onion etc.

He said, “We sell the corn produced in Ras Al Khaimah, as they are in season now and sell by the dozens daily. During summer, the vegetables are expensive and have to be stored in the cold storage facilities but in winter, vegetables don’t get spoilt easily. Spoilt fruits and vegetables are immediately thrown out.” Mostly locals and Asians frequent the market, with the occasional presence of tourists.

The activities begin at 3am. Till 7am, the market is crowded with people from the different emirates and neighbouring countries, who come to sell or purchase fruits and vegetables.

The market closes at 12 noon and reopens at 3pm. In the evenings, 8pm to midnight is the rush time, as along with major buyers, families also come to purchase these nutritious veggies.

In a way, the market works round the clock, as you will find trucks loading or unloading items at all times.

Stall 368 sells different varieties of luscious watermelons, sweet melons and delicious looking dates. Abdurub Mohammed, the vendor, said, “The dates come from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and some are locally produced. We have been given instructions by the doctors to cover the dates in order to preserve their quality.”

The prices are less than what you would pay at any supermarket. A kilogramme of grapes would cost Dh8, 1kg okra Dh5 and 3kg corn Dh10.

Lakshmi Suresh said, “My husband always comes here to buy our monthly stock of vegetables. I prefer this to the supermarkets because it is cheaper and you can be assured that the fruits and vegetables are fresh.”

The market provides a wholesome range of fruits and vegetables. If you want your vegetables and fruits to be as fresh as they could be in this part of the world, this is the one-stop place.

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