Helping Qatar write its next chapter in history and in the department of farming & development is a business called Baladna Farms that is spear headed by Irish expat John Dore . Baladna is spread over 3,840 hectares of land and is now a name now that stands out proudly as the country goes through some trying times caused by quite frankly an unnecessary and unexpected GCC blockade.
As the saying goes though every dark cloud has a silver lining and such is the case of Baladna Farms as the blockade has promoted buying local which to me personally was about time. I’ve always been an avid supporter of small home grown business so when I heard the farm was open to public I was more than excited to make a trip with the family.
The farm is a drive a little short of an hour away and is approximately 50 km out of the city on Shamal road en route the norther city of Al Khor. We drove off just before noon with the aim of making it to the farm in time for Friday brunch as by best friend was visiting us and this trip was just perfect to show her a bit more of Qatar and the local hangouts.
Getting there was relatively easier than most other trips we’ve done as directions taken off the official website indicated getting of exit 44 which took us right to the main gate of the farm. There were big visible sign boards that guided us along the way that kept us on track.
As soon as we drove in we not only noticed how well the area was maintained but also how popular of a weekend destination it already was. The car park almost full though it still had a few spots open which made settling in for us a quick process.
Our hungry tummies guided us straight to the restaurant that we had heard a lot of good things about. This place was right up my alley serving up the farm to table concept. I believe we are forced to eat food these days that we have no idea where or how its grown. Baladna on the other hand has its very own restaurant serving farm fed fresh meat, poultry and eggs. Everything truly arabic and delicious is on the menu and I guarantee it won’t disappoint. High recommend the lamb chop platter, that was a big hit on the table.
The farm is also equipped to entertain the kids and not only with the farm animals that are on site to feed and pet but also offers pony rides, a zip lining park (adults allowed too), boat rides on the little lake and a big park area for the little ones to jump around and play.
The farm has its produce on sale that include fresh milk, yogurt, cheeses, meat, poultry section, organic lentils, dates and olives.
Another main attraction and extremely educational is the milking factory that is well designed and great for the kids to experience. The site has a massive wall explaining the entire process which make it the perfect kind of weekend educational field trip with the family.
The 100-unit custom built Dairymaster milking parlour
Our overall experience of the farm was nothing short of spectacular. From fresh farm food, to fresh air, to a little educational field trip to the local experience. This one visit checked off many boxes for all of us.
Baladna is truly paving the way forward for the country and how it survives on its own providing the highest standards of food and security for its people and their future. Yes though I know its main inhabitants that keep the farm running and in business may not be native to this land but just like us expats they help build and sustain an economy that is ever more so growing and flourishing in this tiny desert of Qatar a place we now all call home.
Happy day tripping
How to get there?