Rima’s relationship with the land can be traced back to her time at Nabeh el Safa in 1999. She opened her restaurant in the Chouf only during summer months, and served seasonal produce from the local farmers. Two years later she had to put the project on hold to look after her family. However, in 2002, the Renee Moawad Association was looking to empower women within Lebanon, and Rima was selected to attend several workshops. The newly acquired set of skills helped her further invest in the family fruit farm and allowed her to showcase the Chouf’s different varieties of peaches and prunes to a wider target market.
Rima started selling her mouneh to the Souk el Tayeb in 2005, and was later convinced by her close friends to share her baking talents with the wider community by baking her own marquq(flat bread) each Saturday at the markets. During the summer season she adds the newly prepared sets of mouneh including her incredibly popular peach compote from the farm (now available for sale under the Souk el Tayeb product line).
Rima’s farm has successfully received organic certification from “Liban cert” thus changing the landscape of the whole area into more sustainable premises. This opened an opportunity for Rima to venture into new domains. The farm is planting vegetables used for all types of mouneh.
Rima liaises with local farmers to continuously meet demand for her products and assist other organic farmers in extending the life of their produce by transforming it into mouneh. Rima goes on to quickly point out the loss of the younger population in assisting their elders with farm jobs, favoring a move to the city.
You can find Rima at Souk el Tayeb showcasing the saj mana’eesh and other local goodies from the fertile land in the Chouf region.
Rima recalls her love for the humble hospitality of her village where all dwellers are part of the same family. Dishes from the area include: kibebh bi labanieh (beef and burghul patties served with local yoghurt); koussa with salsa bayda (courgettes with a béchamel sauce); and shish barak (vegetarian dumplings served with thick yoghurt).