Turns out the market is totally worth it!!
I met with Chirine, the coordinator of Souk El Ard, and asked her about the concept and mission behind this weekly market
>> Souk El Ard is an activity organized by Slow Food Beirut, a non-profit Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) branched from the International NGO, Slow Food, that has been founded in Italy in 1989 opposing the 'fast-food' lifestyle and supporting 'slow-food' instead. Slow Food now encompasses more than 150 countries with over 100,000 working to ensure slow authentic food does not go unseen! Slow food organizes similar Earth Markets in different countries and aims to serve 'Good, Clean and Fair Food'.
- 'Good' - Authentic, diversified, fresh, and artisan local food products preserving the countries' culinary heritage
- 'Clean' - Organic food, free from genetically modified organisms and pesticides that does not harm the environment, animals and humans
- 'Fair' - Fair trade for small-scale agriculture and producers with sustainable approaches to fishing and farming as well as ensuring accessible prices for consumers
Slow Food supports local farmers and producers by organizing educational programs about sustainable diets, farming, fishing, GMOs, slow fish, as well as local markets in which those producers sell their own home made produce. The founder of Slow Food has also founded the first university, University of Gastronomic Sciences, in which one can study links between food and cultures
So bottom line, ou have to check what this market has to offer.
My friends and I actually got (here goes the list):
- For lunch: Purslane pies (fatayer), spinach pies, wild green pies, pumpkin kebbe, wild thyme and cheese pie, vegetarian stuffed cabbage leaves
- For dessert: Sugar-less carrot cake and sugar-less chocolate & orange cupcakes
- Beverages: Water and freshly squeezed orange juice
- To take home: More greens fatayer (for the family), pumpkin kebbe, organic carrots, organic zucchini, preserved vine leaves, thyme with sumac, sesame and sunflower seeds, eggplant compote (my dad loves those) and best part of it all, my new baby basil plant
|Furn El Sabaya's Mouwaraqa along with their healthy chocolate cupcakes,|
orange cupcakes and carrot cake
|Em Ali's live saj (flat bread), preparing manakich with rocka & cheese , wild thyme & labne, kechek, labne with hot sauce, thyme with assorted veggies or cheese - with someone actually chopping the food in the background, preparing everything fresh!|
|Beans, thyme, sumac & sesame fix, kechek, bulgur, rice, wheat, sesame, sumac, flax seeds, herbal teas...|
|Home made sweets, maamoul, marzipan, biscuits and cookies|
|Different authentic honey wax and honey flavors too!|
|A seriously delicious set of nut butters (cashew, peanut, walnut, almond and hazelnut)|
as well as sesame paste
|A huge variety of seasonal organic fruit & veggies|
So you see, this market is playing a crucial role in preserving authentic and traditional Lebanese pantry, produce and dishes and it has an invaluable importance in helping local farmers keep doing what they love to do while profiting from their small-scale businesses.
In fact, anyone who believes in slow food, their vision and their objectives can join the Slow Food Beirut movement for 10,000LL (almost 7 USD/year). Members can be both dormant and active supporters - You can contact the events' coordinator Chirine Alayan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 70944308.
I see this market is a win-win situation for both producers and consumers, especially that I love our authentic traditional Lebanese food as well as the healthy and diverse nutrition it has to offer! In addition, the fact that this market is in the heart of Hamra from 8 am till 2 pm, students and employees walking by can actually make benefit of the healthy deliciousness as well! I am sure this won't be my last visit, I already know what I'll have the next time I'm there.
Slow Food Beirut Blog
Slow Food Beirut Facebook Page
Earth Market's Facebook Page