HEALTH meets Elena Kinane, the Founder of Greenheart Organic Farms, which grows the best organic, one hundred percent chemicalfree produce in the Gulf region. She details her passion towards genuine organic farming and how it works.
What is the key reason you initiated this farm?
“I initially grew only for my family and friends. I wholeheartedly believe in healthy organic eating, an eco-friendly lifestyle, and fair trade. Setting up Greenheart was a gradual process, once we were confident that genuine organic desert farming was possible, we started building the business layer by layer. Basically, fresh foods available in supermarkets are poor in nutrient content due to long storage periods and most fresh foods are grown in nutrient depleted soils with the help of chemical fertilizers. The only way to remain healthy or become healthy is to break out of this cycle and go back to cooking at home with fresh organic ingredients.”
What do you say to people who think eating healthy is time consuming and expensive?
“I work long hours myself and have small children so I know what’s it’s like to have to ‘time manage’. Cooking healthy meals can take as little as a few minutes. There are many fast and easy-to-follow recipes available now on-line. Our produce can be ordered for home delivery so it’s time efficient. With regards to price, we cut out the middle man and sell directly to the end consumer so we’re much more affordable than other outlets. To me, eating healthy genuine organic produce is like taking out a life insurance policy against sickness and ill health and when you have a healthy lifestyle, you feel so much better and are a lot more productive.”
What are your most popular products?
“From our own produce grown at the Greenheart Farms definitely includes our kale, baby spinach, heirloom cherry tomatoes, strawberries, and eggs. We also import from small organic farms in Sri Lanka and Lebanon. The lemons from Lebanon are amazing and so are the stone fruit and cherries. From Sri Lanka, the pineapples, mango, and passion fruit are always best sellers. Now that many customers have tried them and have seen the difference, we also sell a lot of our fresh organic cinnamon sticks and black pepper. We are now expanding our range to include vanilla, cacao, turmeric and much more.”
What’s been the feedback to your farm?
“Our customers are very appreciative and loyal. We are really grateful for the amazing support we receive. This is what keeps us going when things become difficult at times. When clients or customers visit our farm they are usually astonished to see all this amazing produce that can be eaten straight from the field. We show them how we compost, collect seeds, and explain a bit more about our techniques.”
How challenging is it to grow year-round in a desert such as Dubai?
“Every day is a logistical challenge for us. Each afternoon we consolidate all online, shop and wholesale orders and then harvest the following morning. We plan ahead as much as possible but orders keep changing so ensuring that we have enough of all produce is difficult. Up until May, we can grow a lot of our produce outside, but from June onwards this is limited and then most of our produce is grown in climate controlled grow houses. During this time, we import items that we can’t grow ourselves from our partner farms in Sri Lanka and Lebanon”.