The Graz Farmers Market in Austria!
Kaiser Josef Platz is the third largest plaza in Graz and it is devoted to the Farmers’ Market. It opens up very early six times a week, when big tables are set out for farmers to display their local produce. Farmers sell only regional crops, so one will never find any bananas, oranges or pineapples there, as those are sold only in supermarkets.
The market can be reached by car, bus, tram, or on foot and there are many walkways through the Stadtpark, with its old trees, cared gardens and fountains. Culture is not far away either, as the Opera House, with its elegant ornate building is just across the way from the market.
What one finds in the market are the freshest seasonal vegetables and fruit; meat, chicken and fish; honey, free range eggs, as well as assorted cheeses and sausages. The market is also the place to go for freshly cut flowers and potted plants.
The market is a particularly colourful place to be when the strawberries, apricots and peaches are in season! You are sure not to get home with your purchase, as nobody can resist the colour and fragrance of the fresh fruit, so you are sure to taste a few! The time will also come for the cherries and assorted berries and then once the heat of the summer is over, the apples, pears and plums will start to make their appearance, when it will be time to find your best recipes for making strudel and cakes for the family.
The side streets near the market also offer other essentials, like a news agency to buy tickets for the Sunday lottery, stamps, postcards, tram and bus tickets. There are also a few coffee shops nearby, where one can sit outside under the shade of an umbrella, to enjoy a cup of coffee with some friends. Right in the middle of the market there is also a small bread shop, a must in everybody’s weekend shopping list.
After a while one ends up going to the same butcher, vegetable or apple/pear merchant, as they already know what you like. Our veggie woman even recognized my husband from the time he was a student many, many years ago, as the Technical University is just a couple of blocks away! My husband now works in that university and he walks there in the mornings and again in the afternoon, as he like to come home for lunch every day.
After 1pm the Kaiser Josef Platz transforms itself, as the products are taken away, tables are set aside and the area becomes a parking lot until the next day. There are other smaller markets in the city, which open once a week, but it’s not the same, as your butcher, vegetable or chicken merchant, who know exactly what you like, are not there to look after your needs.