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  • Writer's pictureLiz Totton

Daily Photo–Farmer’s Market Chicken Dinner

Caution, people who cannot handle anything that seems even remotely like animal cruelty, please DO NOT read on!

This “Chicken Dinner” post isn’t exactly about a typical chicken dinner with which a westerner is probably more familiar. It’s about a Farmer’s Market, and the manner in which one might purchase the fixings for a chicken dinner or a goat dinner for that matter.

Peppers at the Olympia Farmer's Market

This past Saturday, we visited our local Farmer’s Market in a northern part of Abu Dhabi, called Al Shahama. Let’s just say this Farmer’s Market was more than just a little different to the one that we love and grew quite used to in Olympia, WA. The Olympia Farmer’s Market is a tribute to everything organic, raised naturally and healthfully. Do you need a particular kind of a mushroom? There’s a stand for that. There was a booth that had, no kidding, like 50 different kinds of mushrooms that varied weekend to weekend with the changing seasons. There were so many varieties of kale, peppers, different colors of carrots, farm-raised, local meat, fresh clams and oysters, great coffee and piping hot bread. You get the point. 

I really wasn’t expecting anything remotely like this when we wandered up to this market. I knew it was the U.A.E., and it would probably be incomparable to those in the USA. Indeed it it was. In this new Saturday Farmer’s Market’s defense, it is a brand new concept here, and it isn’t fair at all to compare it. I actually don’t even really intend to compare it in this post. My goal is merely to point out a little difference to how the west approaches food: farm to table. You see, in my experience, most Americans want absolutely no relationship with their food prior to preparing it for dinner. This is changing swiftly in the US, but probably not fast enough. At this Farmer’s Market, instead of neatly packed and oh so (seemingly) sterile dinner-sized portions of meat, you see this:

Goats for Slaughter at Farmer's Market

Goats for Slaughter. Step right up! Get your Goat!

Yes, these are goats in carts just waiting patiently to be slaughtered, quartered and served up for many dinners–nothing wasted–all on the spot. I know off the top of my head about 10 friends from home who would be mortally offended by the sight of this photo. “How can they do that to these poor animals, at a Farmer’s market no less? Farmer’s market are for organic kale and grabbing a bagel with lox and a schmear.” I can hear you saying, and I get it. I am mostly vegetarian because I cannot stand how America, in particular, treats its farm animals, those that are specially grown strictly for the food chain. I have no opinion on this picture, though I believe that it’s probably worse to hide animal abuse in the shadows, but then neatly package it up so no American ever has to be offended by or reminded that they are eating an animal (which may have not been treated so well along its journey to your plate).

The animals sold in this Farmer’s Market are NOT pets. They do not have names. They were not treated particularly well, but probably far better than the ones you see in American slaughterhouses. Check out Food, Inc. if you care to learn about how bad it is in the states, or just stick your head back in the sand if you just want to happily eat your meat and not know. Remember, I’m not judging anyone’s eating habits here, just remarking on the difference and the process.

The Rabbit Guy and his Rabbit.

The Rabbit Guy and his Rabbit. Photo courtesy of Skye 🙂

At this Farmer’s Market besides goats, there were stalls selling live turkeys, baby chicks, many varieties of chickens, guinea fowl, rabbits and several types of birds that we could not even identify. One stall worker–let’s call him the rabbit guy–just thought we were hysterical taking pictures of his wares, naming them and oohing and awing over his rabbits and chicks. He took them out for us to hold and cuddle. He poked his stall mate in the the side and they laughed at us, in some language, as we handled his food. To him, it might have looked as ridiculous as a market goer coddling an eggplant. After all, food is food, and these animals were nothing more to him.

Have a look at some of the other wares at this local Saturday Farmer’s Market. [lg_slideshow folder=”Farmers Market/”]


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