Farmers' markets offer healthy alternatives
September 3, 2013
The sixth in the Insider's Tips for Auslaender series, which focuses on ways to make the most of your tour in Bavaria. Look for articles with this tag and if you have tips or suggestions, e-mail email@example.com.
Growing everything from the famous white asparagus to the eponymous Hallertau hops, Bavaria continues to be the most important agricultural state and the largest producer of food in Germany.
But farming in Bavaria is more than sustenance, it's tradition.
For centuries, townspeople have flocked to the local markets to purchase fresh produce, dairy, bread and Bavarian specialties.
Today, locals and tourists alike fill baskets to the brim with traditional items and much more.
The scents from blooming flowers and colorful spices flow through the market as farmers and artisans peddle their wares. Local honey, farm-raised meat and seafood, pastries and seasonal produce make the farmers' market a one-stop shop.
While supporting local farmers and being a part of a community is rewarding on its own, according to Kim Waller, director, Army Wellness Center, consuming locally grown food has numerous health benefits, as well.
"Farmers' markets provide a great opportunity to eat locally grown fruits and vegetables that are harvested at their peak of freshness," said Waller. "Eating produce at its peak usually means it has more vitamins and minerals, so you get a greater health benefit."
Waller explained oftentimes produce found at the grocery store is shipped in from other countries and picked before it is fully ripe, meaning it does not offer the optimal benefits.
Markets guarantee fresh, and at times, unusual produce.
If you are new to Germany, you may come across items you haven't seen before. If you're unsure how to prepare a certain fruit or vegetable, simply ask the farmer. They usually have a few tips on how to make the most out of what they are selling.
Below is a list of farmers' markets near and far, small and large. Note, if any of the listed days is a German holiday, the markets are usually held the day prior. Most markets run from April-October, although hours vary depending on the weather.
Amberg: Wed., Fri. and Sat., 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m., on the Marktplatz.
Ansbach: Wednesday and Saturday 8 a.m.-1 p.m., on Martin-Luther-Platz. In addition to the regular fresh produce markets, local farmers offer their fresh goods every first and third Saturday of the month at the farmers' market on Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Platz (same opening hours).
Bamberg: Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-6 p.m., on Maxplatz. Closed on Sundays and German holidays.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen: Garmisch: Fri., at the Mohrenplatz. Partenkirchen: Thurs., at the Rathausplatz. Both run from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Munich: Viktualienmarkt, Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-6p.m.
Nuremberg: Innenstadt, Mon.-Fri., 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat., 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
Neumarkt: Thurs.-Sat., in Untere Marktstrasse. Thurs.,10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Parsberg: Wed., 7 a.m.-midday; Fri., 2-6 p.m., on Stadtplatz.
Regensburg: Sat., 7 a.m.-1 p.m., at the Donaumarkt (right next to the Eiserne Bruecke / Iron Bridge).
Weiden: Wed. and Sat., 7 a.m. -12:30 p.m., Oberer and Unterer Markt / all around the Altes Rathaus (historic city hall, pedestrian zone).
Wuerzburg: Mon.-Sat., 7 a.m.-1 p.m., on Rathausplatz. Closed Sundays and German holidays.