Exclusive market set to serve dates buyers

By Jamil Khan | SHARJAH

SHOPKEEPERS in Sharjah’s exclusive markets, dealing in dates, are all set to welcome customers in big numbers as is the norm, in the run-up and during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Markets selling local and imported dates, from neighbouring Gulf countries, in Sharjah near the Rolla Bus Station are set up annually ahead of Ramadan to cater for the culinary needs of Muslims during the fasting season.jamil-dates
Dates which are renowned as highly nourishing are commonly eaten at the time of breaking the fast.
This year the market, labeled “Dates Festival” by shopkeepers, started on June 1 and will up to Oct 30. About 20 stalls have been set up by shopkeepers who are transacting business in the vegetable market.
As part of the Dates Festival, the shopkeepers have decorated their stalls with varieties of dates and creatively displayed them to catch the eyes of passersby and customers, in equal measure.
Ibrahim, a shopkeeper who has worked in the adjacent vegetable market for the last 25 years and manages one of the date stalls, told The Gulf Today on Wednesday that they hope to see more customers in the next couple of days.
“You know, we just opened this festival on June 1. We are still receiving customers throughout the day but majority come in the evening to avoid scorching heat in the daytime.
“So far, the number is low but in the next couple of days before the start of Ramadan, which is expected to start on June 18, we are optimistic to see more customers come to buy their favourite dates,” he said.
The stalls are not only offering numerous local varieties of dates which are yet-to-be ripe but also varieties from Saudi Arabia and Oman.
“Nagal is one of the local varieties that are so popular among both Emiratis and expatriates, besides many other varieties from Saudi Arabia,” he pointed out.
Almost every stall has different sizes jars with date syrup which is also widely popular among the Arab population. The syrup jar is selling at 600grams for Dhs10 and 4kilograms for Dhs45.
Mukhtar Saber, one of the shopkeepers, pointed out that the local customers of dates syrup visit throughout the year since the product is a commonly used in their daily meals.
Ilyas, another senior shopkeeper, noted that the different varieties of dates are popular among many segments of expatriate communities in Sharjah. Numerous customers from Dubai, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah are also visiting the market to buy dates ahead of Ramadan.
“We are here in this market offering dozens of varieties to our customers as there is no other place with so many options of dates for them (customers). Fresh produce is a must-have variety for the local population while many expatriate communities like Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshis like dry dates,” he said.
The expatriates from Asian countries prefer dry varieties of dates because this helps them to keep the dates for a long time. Also, if someone wants to send some back home to their family, the dry dates are best as a Ramadan gift.
According to the market’s shopkeepers, many local and Saudi varieties in high demand and the prices range from Dhs10 to Dhs00 per kilogram. Stalls in the market are offering varieties which include: Ajwa (Dhs80), Nagal (Dhs10-15), Shukar (Dhs30 per kg), Sagai (Dhs25-30), Barhi (Dhs20), Khalas (Dhs15-20), Khadri (Dhs20-25), Fard (Dhs25), Kalmi (Dhs30), Safawi (Dhs35-45), Mabroom (Dhs35-45) and Sultana (Dhs25-30).
-Published in The Gulf Today-Sharjah | June 11, 2015

~ by jamilkhan on June 11, 2015.

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