Story and photos by Wendy Payne
In America, the trend to shop at farmers’ markets and support small farmers is the rage. However, buying locally grown food in a foreign country can be a daunting task. I hope this article helps take some of the mystery out of “buying local” for you. This is not a new concept for our environmentally-conscious host country as this is how they’ve shopped for years. I absolutely loved researching this topic and believe it is much more than a hip new trend: it’s a lifestyle treating earth as kindly as possible without missing out on flavor or convenience.
All About the Roots
Farmers’ markets and boutique farmers were popping up all over the state of Alabama just before I moved to Germany. I worked at a non-profit organization called Deep Roots of Alabama, which is a green educational initiative to teach children and adults how to grow their own food. So you can see how this subject is dear to my heart. Growing up the daughter of a gardener and grand-daughter of a farmer, you could say it’s in my blood. Here in Germany and especially in Stuttgart, I have found several resources to help you discover what’s your “local.”
We tend to “eat the calendar,” which is a buzz phrase in the green community. If it’s not “in-season,” it’s not on your plate. For example, strawberries in December is a no-no, even if grown in a greenhouse. It’s all about the soil. In the U.S., “local” is defined as anything that grows 50 miles/80 Km or less from your home. Here in Germany, “regionally” would be considered the countries that border Germany. I am not a purest, but I do make a conscious effort to include these beautiful, tasty and abundant fruits and vegetables in our diet when I can.
1. Bring your own bags
2. Carry small Euro bills and coins (A 50 Euros bill is frowned upon here.)
3. Shop early for best options
4. Ask for a sample. Most of the farmers are eager for you to taste a small bite (ein kleiner Biss) of their products.
5. *BONUS: Once you have visited a few times, you will make a friend who will remember your favorites.
It’s the perfect season to start hitting the farmers’ markets. Here is a list of area farmers’ markets I thought might be helpful. What’s in season right now? Asparagus, strawberries and many more are presently in season. Check it out! Almost every small town in Germany has a farmers’ market. The weekly market here in Swabia is called “Wochenmärkten.” Click here for a complete list of farmers’ markets in Böblingen.
Freiburger Allee 44
Wednesdays: 7 a.m.-12 p.m.
Fridays: 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m.
Böblingen (Friedrich-List Platz)
Fridays: 12-5 p.m.
(April-September) Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday: 7 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Fridays: 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Wednesdays and Saturdays: 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 7- 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday and Saturday: 7 a.m.- 12 p.m.
Markt am Zuffenhausener Festplatz
Saturdays: 7 a.m.- 12 p.m.
Here are some tips on how to find “what’s in your town.” Asking your neighbors is the number one resource. You can also usually find an egg farmer in small towns who sells fresh eggs as well as other items. Most of the time, these egg farmers can be found on the edge of town and they oftentimes have eye-level signs. One of the farms we went to this week was tucked away but on the honors-system with a price list.
Signs to Lookout For
Here is a list of words on signs to look for:
*Frisch Milch” (milk)
Five houses away from my home, I can conveniently buy honey. Within a 5 km radius, I can also buy flour, potatoes, chicken, turkey, eggs, goat’s milk and cheese.
Below are two local sources for flour, grains, nuts and cereals all milled in Böblingen area. I enjoy riding my bike to the Sessler Flour Mill and Cafe. It’s one of my favorite cafes to catch some coffee and cake out on the patio… ahhh Europe.
Sessler Mühler & Cafe
Author’s Profile: Wendy Payne is a military spouse and lives with her family in Stuttgart, Germany. She is a freelance writer, blogger, and photographer. She also enjoys gardening, hiking, yoga and sharing Europe with people.