Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Kuwait: Local Food Options Growing

Over the summer I watched a really interesting documentary (Food, Inc.) about the agricultural and food production industry in the United States.  (https://www.facebook.com/Foodinc) I've always tried to feed my family healthy food- fruits, vegetables, whole grains etc. But the premise of the documentary is that fruits, vegetables, and grains aren't what they used to be. The soil is depleted, plants are chemically treated or modified, animals are fed unnatural or anti-biotic infused foods- in short, it has now become critical to not only know what you are eating, but how it was grown and where it comes from.

Local Kuwait Free-Range Eggs
Living in Kuwait, where agriculture is not a huge industry and the majority of your food is imported, I was concerned about how to incorporate some of my new and evolving belief systems regarding the food that I feed my family. So imagine how excited I was to walk into my local Sultan Center after being gone all summer, to see a new section of local Kuwait produce: tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, herbs and long green beans; in addition to local dairy and poultry: free range eggs, goat and cow milk, laban, yoghurt, and haloumi cheese. They are not organic, but I feel better buying non-genetically modified and locally grown products, even if they are not organic. Organic food shipped from the US or Holland incurs such an added cost to the environment and must be picked before it is ripe. (They carried the same line of products at both Salmiya Sultan Centers, but I don't know about all the others.)
The local free range eggs, as you can see, were 1.250 KD for 6 (compared to about .450 KD for a dozen of regular imported eggs. And, as you can see, they are small. Still, they tasted great and the shells were so thin and strong, with little brown speckles on them (like...um, real birds eggs). We boiled the eggs and ate them with a white sauce over toasted homemade wheat bread. They really were good. Still, the local products are limited, so I still buy a lot of regionally imported fruits and vegetables (Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia), but I do try to stay away from anything from the Americas or Europe. And while nobody competes with the carrots from New Zealand-at least I am moving in the right direction.
Tomato based soup garnished with local haloumi and basil.
I also bought some haloumi cheese. I was trying to figure out what to make with it, and felt inspired by some black-eyed beans. So, experimenting, I made a tomato-based soup with black-eyed beans, quinoa, and barley- garnished with locally grown basil and grilled haloumi, and served with homemade whole-wheat bread (I still have not found a hearty wholesome bread that I feel good about). It was a much needed delicious and nourishing meal after all of our traveling.
Homemade whole wheat bread
In addition, I brought some seeds back from the United States to try some square-foot gardening to grow some of the produce that is only imported from Europe (zucchini for example) or not available at all (Kale- I requested it at the Sultan Center today, and the manager looked at me like I was making the vegetable up-I told him to Google it). So- if you have any square-foot patio gardening tips, let me know!


H said...

We follow the square foot gardening model and love it - less maintenance, better yields, less water use. It just makes sense for us.

Sarah said...

Any suggestions- websites or books with helpful hints?

April said...

Sarah--I think this is a great idea, and I hope it works out for you! I started researching, thinking I might try it too, and found this how to website with some neat ideas:


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