Dubai: Two stores selling organic fruits and vegetables grown on its Dubai farm has closed abruptly, leaving dozens of regulars without earth-friendly greens.
The Nazwa Organic Farm store on Hatta Road and its namesake off Al Manara street in Jumeirah are no longer in operation for unknown reasons.
Nazwa Organic Farm general manager Elena Kinane sent an e-mail on July 28 to customers stating that "the farm owner has decided to shut down operations at the farm and closed both the retail outlets and deliveries".
Nazwa Farm, run by Kinane and Emirati business partner Abdullah Bel Habb, said it had been certified organic since September, 2009. Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahd, Minister of Environment and Water, had opened the shop in mid-April this year.
An e-mail, which was seen by Gulf News, quoted Kinane as saying the decision to close the farm and shop was taken "shortly after I left the country to go on leave. The reasons behind these decisions and the owner's future intentions are best known only to him. Considering the work that the team have put in over the last year, I find it hard to put into words how devastated we all are at this point."
By press time on Saturday, Kinane was unavailable for comment and Gulf News was unable to reach Bel Habb.
The majority of staff were let go without notice.
"Finally, I would like to share with you that it was my wish to be able to supply our community with affordable, fresh organic fruit and vegetables. We had great plans for the future but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be this time around. Right now I can only hope to be able to achieve this by other means sometime in the future," she said in her email.
Organic farms in the UAE are certified by the ministry after inspections are carried out on the produce and the soil it is grown in. Around 10 farms are certified in the UAE.
The organic store's approach saw that fresh produce from the farm was sold daily in the store straight to the customer, with minimal packaging, and for many even delivered to their door.
Leena Abbas, owner and founder of Zen Beauty Lounge which only uses organic and chemical-free ingredients, said she was sad to see the store go, especially as it supplied the strawberries and cucumbers for treatments in the salon.
"It was great to have alternative produce. I opt for organic as much as possible, other stores do have organic produce but it's just a shame they come in all that plastic wrap."