Mary Anne de Haan, a former high-flying account manager, is now the leading name in edible flowers in the UAE, supplying over 50 of the city’s top restaurants with sustainably grown farm-to-fork produce each month, including vibrant orange nasturtiums, pink-hued amaranths and sunny marigolds. She started her journey after moving to Dubai from the Netherlands in 2014 and noticing that the majority of produce in the supermarkets was imported. She started researching sustainable growing methods and eventually opened her own farm, Mary Anne’s Fresh Produce, which she built with her own hands.
De Haan uses sustainable hydroponic methods to grow 15 flower species, four types of edible leaves, and nine types of microgreens. This method requires up to 10 times less water than typical crop-growing techniques and all of her produce is pesticide-free. She has received a positive response from top chefs and restaurateurs in the UAE, who are passionate about where their ingredients come from and love experimenting with the different flavors and presentations of edible flowers.
A typical day at the farm starts early, with harvesting, planting, feeding, and clean-up, followed by taking orders for the next day, and usually finishes in the early evening. De Haan and her team of nine are committed to sustainability and consider it in every business decision they make. They are looking forward to the launch of Atlantis The Royal, where their flowers will be used in the menus of renowned restaurants such as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Ariana’s Persian Kitchen.