A Tinge Of Green

The night air is laced with an uncomfortable chill. Gone are the daylight hours of suffocating heat. The longed for growing season has finally arrived. In my postage stamp size garden clusters of tomatoes hang like tiny, green full moons on impossibly tall plants. The lilac flowers on the aubergine bushes sway like miniature ballroom dresses in the light breeze. Behind the butter yellow flowers, soaking up the warmth of the sun, tiny zucchini are growing fatter with each passing day. A verdant life force, dormant throughout the summer months, has burst from the earth.

Around the country, markets in different guises have stirred to life. Tables groan under the organic produce that is coaxed to life in this barren land. Tomatoes, zucchini, aubergines, spinach, kale, sweet potatoes, spring onions, broccoli, capsicums. No longer is the only choice the often limp and sad-looking fruit and vegetables that are flown in from around the world. Tomatoes from Holland or Morocco. Bananas from the Philippines. Avocados from Mexico, Spain or Kenya. Oranges from the US. Potatoes from Saudi Arabia or Lebanon. Grapes from South Africa. Mushrooms, capsicums, watermelons and melons from Oman. Plums from Italy. Beetroot from India. Apples from France. Asparagus from Thailand. Onions from Pakistan. Limes from Brazil. Carrots from Australia. Pomegranates and pears from Turkey. Broccoli from Spain. Papayas from Sri Lanka. Cauliflower from Iran. Guavas from Egypt. Celery, garlic, and ginger from China. A variety of mangoes from Brazil, Kenya, Australia, India or Indonesia. The whole world on your plate. During the winter months, though, it is possible to eat mostly local produce, and I delight in it.

Small farms bustle with activity. Working from dawn till dusk. Tending crops and ensuring it reaches the consumers on the day it was picked.

Elsewhere in the desert farming on a different scale is taking place. Red dunes are bulldozed flat. Pivot points are erected. Water is pumped. And a tinge of green appears. In a country where most of the food that feed both humans and animals are imported, experiments are taking place to find ways in which suitable crops can be grown in the desert soil. Wheat, potatoes, and grasses to feed camels, sheep, goats and cows, are just some of these.