German farmers markets have a long tradition of offering fresh, homemade, local products
The bright colors of fruits, vegetables and fresh-cut flowers in German farmers markets are an elixir for eyes that are tired of looking at four walls during coronavirus lockdowns.
Most towns and cities have a market, where shoppers can buy everything from fresh local and imported produce, to baked goods, wine, spices and honey. At the three markets we visited, in Kaiserslautern, Weiden and Wiesbaden, we also found a stand with foods for the allergic, one that sells nothing but eggs, and a food truck that offers a culinary trip around the world.
Outdoor markets in Germany usually take place twice a week. They have been open throughout the pandemic and are enforcing strict coronavirus rules, including a requirement to wear a medical-grade mask and stand back from the next customer.
WiesbadenIn early spring, Wiesbaden’s farmers market had Italian grapes and plums, Spanish and Greek olives, Dutch tulips, French cheeses and wines, locally grown strawberries and other regional products.
There were four butchers’ trucks, a fish monger and, a rare find, the Noglla stall, which sells gluten- and lactose-free cakes, cookies and breads, as well as homemade spreads, prepared meals and sauces.
There are many dining options nearby including the Lumen restaurant, which was offering vacuum-sealed, chef-made meals with instructions, and wine at wholesale prices to take home and enjoy while coronavirus restrictions are in force.
Where and when: By the Marktkirche and Rathaus, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. - 2 p.m.
More information: An online, interactive map of the market (tinyurl.com/vkx6ewmv) allows you to click on a stall by number and check out what it offers before you go. Parkhaus Markt is right on the square and costs 3 euros for the first hour.
KaiserslauternFarmers have been selling their wares in Kaiserslautern’s Stiftsplatz since the 19th century.
Today, more than half of the stalls at the market sell fruit and vegetables or specialty foods. Kirbas, a delicatessen that has been coming to the Stiftsplatz from Karlsruhe for 31 years, sells olives, peppers, sheep’s milk cheeses, other Mediterranean specialties and seafood.
Other stalls sell flowers, local wine, cheese, meat, spices and condiments, and, on Saturdays only, honey and beeswax products. German and American fast food, like the ubiquitous bratwurst in a roll or a burger, is available from food trucks at the Saks Hotel end of the market.
The stand that stood out on a quiet, snowy Tuesday in April was Borg’s, on the same side of the square as the church.
They sell eggs. Only eggs.
They have brown and white eggs from free-range (freilandhaltung) and coop-raised (bodenhaltung) chickens, and from organically fed hens. The eye-catching multicolored eggs are hard-boiled and ready to eat, some of them organic, or “bio,” and some bodenhaltung. You can buy a single egg or a dozen.
They had the longest line in the market.
Where and when: Stiftsplatz, Tuesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
More information: Kaiserslautern has a smaller market on Thursdays on Koenigstrasse. The markets are about 20 minutes from Ramstein Air Base and an easy walk from most places in the city. Parking at the underground lot at the Stiftsplatz is 2 euros for the first hour. Street parking is also available.
WeidenWeiden has hosted a market off and on since 1331, with interruptions for events like the plague and wars.
Today, around 15 stalls sell vegetables and fruit, bread, eggs, cheese and meat products, as well as freshly made pasta, in the town’s market, which is about 30 minutes away from Grafenwoehr and Vilseck. Locals are especially proud of the many potato varieties available and will explain which ones are better for mashing, baking in the skin or roasting.
The sole food truck at the market in early April was run by Nina & Velja’s Kitchen, which also has a restaurant in Weiden.
They were offering what they call “wanderlust cooking,” including brownies, quesadillas, and a pork belly and kimchi bowl served with rice, salad, onion jam, hummus and aioli — a global food trip during coronavirus times that takes in Germany, Korea, southern France, the Middle East, Mexico via Texas, and Mom’s kitchen.
Where and when: Wednesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
More information: The Allee parking garage is a four-minute walk away at Buergermeister-Prechtl-Strasse 26. It charges around 1 euro for the first hour.
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