There's no doubt that food is high on everyone's agenda but how often do you think about where your vegetables and fruits actually come from?
Farming nowadays is all about commercial gains and getting the healthiest looking fruits to hit the markets when in reality they're full of chemicals, preservatives, and hormones.
Curious about what goes on behind the scenes in the farming industry, the Khaleejesque team got the chance to visit Yasmin Farms in Kuwait with their business development manager, Bader Al-Ayoubi, and got a briefing about the farm’s clean modern approach to farming.
Established in 2005, it is one of the forerunners of ethical farming in Kuwait. With quality being essential to them, they make sure their fruits, vegetables, and animals are all chemical and pesticide free. From hydroponic lettuce (which are amazingly grown on water without soil!) to seasonal fruits and vegetables grown under extreme care, you can instantly notice that this isn't your average farm.
What makes Yasmin Farms different than other local farms?
Our fruits and vegetables are pesticide free; antibiotics and hormones are not used to induce artificial growth. However, they are not organic. The animals (goats, cows, chicken) are free range. They are allowed to roam freely. They are not given any antibiotics or growth hormones and are provided with premium feed.
Under what brand do you stock the Yasmin Farms products and where can interested consumers find them?
Yasmin Farm’s supply fruits and vegetables to all TSC branches under the brand Yasmin Farms. We also have our dairy products branded under Alban. It is sold presently in the Alban Diary Shop, which is located beside the Tamana Al Khair shop in the Soog Sharg Fish Market. You can also find it in selected TSC service stores. We carry goat, sheep, and cow variations of milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and laban. We also sell free-range eggs in TSC where you can pick the eggs from a basket and pack them in their cartons, similar to the European way.
What do you think of the regional public's perspective towards those safe farming techniques?
I believe that the public has started to become more aware of where their food comes from and how safe it is. There is a fine line between pesticide free and organic and it is important to know that Yasmin Farms produce is pesticide free and not organic yet. We aim to be an organic farm soon as this is our ultimate goal.
Can you provide us with some tips for consumers to look out for when shopping for fruits and vegetables?
1. Make sure the fruits/vegetables have no bruises, bumps or openings.
2. If the product states that it is organic, look for the certification.
3. Do your shopping in the morning. The less time the vegetable/fruit has been picked, the fresher it is. Also, most produce are delivered in the morning so you can guarantee it's freshness.
4. Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in season.
5. Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables, which are a bit cooler than room temperature.
Tamana Al-Khair is a charitable initiative, can you tell us more about that?
Tamana Al Khair is a product line we introduced in 2009 that branches from products made by families in need. We basically buy these products to help the families financially. All packaging and branding is under Tamana Al Khair and takes place in Yasmin Farms under our supervision to ensure quality and hygiene. Most products are from Kuwait (spices and olives) but we also carry a couple of items from Lebanon (thyme, rose tea), Syria (ka’ak, jams), Jordan (thyme, spices), Switzerland (honey, jams, cheese), Saudi Arabia (dates, spices), Bahrain (palm water, rose water), Spain (saffron), and Yemen (honey). The ambiance of the store is very welcoming and similar to an experience you would have in Europe. The décor is made from wood and cement combining both modern and traditional worlds.
With an abundance of healthy choices to choose from, Yasmin Farms is definitely a farm with a conscious. Here is to hoping that other farmers will finally pick up on the much-needed change in farming!
For more information about Yasmin Farms, visit their website www.yasminfarms.com