Central Europe Farmers Markets

(First, let me welcome the dozen new readers who have joined in the last month. You have expected a blog on the edible wild plants of the Southwest, and that is what usually appears. But once or twice each summer I highlight great food tradtions I’ve found on my vacation.   You may recall recall people returning from vacations back in the ’70s and ’80 and pulling together a slide show for all their friends. This is sort of the 21st century version.)

Organic cheese from Moravia.

Organic cheese from Moravia.

On Saturday mornings in Prague, farmers and other food purveyors gather  along the Vltava River to sell their wares. The woman above holds a cheese manufactured from organic milk in Moravia.  There seemed to be an interest in the value of organic produce.

Cured meats

Cured meats

Along with the cheeses, were cured meats.  We were always served a full selection of cold cuts for breakfast to layer on bread.  Cold cuts are also served for supper after the larger meal at noontime.

Beautiful loaves of bread.

Beautiful loaves of bread.

Stevia for people to take home and prepare their own sweetner.

Stevia for people to take home and prepare their own sweetner.

These fresh stevia plants were disappearing fast.  I’m sorry that my inability to speak Czech hindered the possibility of finding out what the purchasers were actually doing with it once they got it home.

Saurkraut

Sauerkraut

Pickled vegetables are big in the Czech Republic and this sauerkraut was sold from a bucket to take home by the pint.

Fresh fruit syrups were the base for drinks.

Fresh fruit syrups were the base for drinks.

This young couple at the Prague farmers market had prepared nine different fresh fruit syrups such as kiwi, lemon, orange, and blackberry.  You chose your flavor, they ladled some out and then filled the glass with carbonated water. Delicious and refreshing. It made the most fabulous lemonade I’ve ever tasted.  Here’s a close-up of the lemon infusion.

Fresh lemon syrup.

Fresh lemon syrup.

Vegetable market in a  Venice canal.

Vegetable market in a Venice canal.

Summer means fresh vegetables throughout Central Europe. This merchant brought produce to our neighborhood on a boat moored in one of the Venice canals. Without access to a kitchen, I was limited to buying a few of those luscious peaches in the foreground.

Sausages of all kinds.

Sausages of all kinds.

In Budapest we lived in an apartment with a well-equipped kitchen and it was really fun to shop at the market and try new things. Central Europeans are really into sausages of all kinds. Here are just a few in the Central Market in Budapest. Those in the upper right corner look like standard franfurters to me but I didn’t buy any.

Bologna Salad

Bologna Salad

Hungarians love sausages so much they even slice them up and make them into salad as above.

Roasted goose legs.

Roasted goose legs.

The first time we visited the Central Market in Budapest, my husband saw the roasted goose legs and just had to go back and try them. They were great.  Goose liver paste is an important national delicacy, and I guess they really do need to come up with something to do with the rest of the goose.

Horse Roast

Horse Roast

Saw the above in a butcher shop in Venice.  There’s a different feeling about eating horses in Europe. That’s why we travel — to discover other ways of thinking and eating.  But I must say the most unusual thing that I saw in the corner grocery where we shopped in Budapest was below.  I was so shocked, I just took a picture and forgot to look at where they were manufactured.

Right in our corner grocery in Budapest.

Right in our corner grocery in Budapest.

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If you have gathered fresh prickly pears and are wondering what to do with them now, you can see a suggestion for quick juicing in a previous post here.  Once you’ve got the juice, find some terrific  recipes in The Prickly Pear Cookbook or Cooking the Wild Southwest, Delicious Recipes for Desert Plants.  If you don’t have time to deal with them now, put them in plastic bags in the freezer and you can process them later.  And always, always, wear your rubber gloves.  It takes a minute to put them on, but many minutes to take out the stickers

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7 responses

  1. Food is one of the great pleasures of a voyage to Czech Rep, Austria and Hungary with Venice as a sidedish. The other is architecture. Not to mention Pilsner beer at all hours of the day. The farmer’s market in Prague is a wonder, right on the river. And the greatest indoor market of Europe, the Budapest Great Market — they are expanding it now, to almost double its size. With giant goose legs to eat, you gotta admit — them’s some geese!

  2. I’m so happy you took pictures of things that we, too, noticed, saw, and ate while in Europe this summer — soooo close to you, in Vienna, but so far. One of my favorite surprises was the pit stops along the major highway running East-West through Austria. After driving for a couple of hours, we pulled into one, and were delighted to find the equivalent of a farmer’s market, with fresh fruit and freshly baked bread, vats of soup, various pasta dishes, a display case with about 20 kinds of ice cream, pastries and cakes, freshly brewed coffee, freshly squeezed juices, and, of course, wine or beer if you wanted. We sat outside under umbrellas and enjoyed a beautiful view and a leisurely, nourishing lunch and then got on our way again. What a difference from MacDonald’s (though there were some roadside MacDonald’s here and there also — the nice thing was that we had a choice). I wonder if giving drivers the opportunity for deep relaxation along their route changes the accident rate. It made the drive itself pleasurable.

  3. I miss the farmers markets of Germany….every Tuesday and Friday I would make the trip into town by bus and bring back wonderful goodies…every trip my first stop would be the Espresso cart for cappuccino (best I’ve ever tasted); Fridays I’d always go to the fish monger, pick out a portion of fish and quietly stand by while he cooked it for me to eat there….YUM!

  4. Wow, scruptuous photos; makes me want to eat my way across Eastern Europe. Not sure aboout the bologna salad, but am definitely in for that lemon syrup.

  5. Hi Carolyn, I love your posts and hope someday to meet you! I think we have many mutual friends, like Amy and Linda. I adored seeing those fermented and cured foods from your trip that would not be allowed for sale at our farmers’ markets, probably!

    Best regards,

    Barbara

    Barbara Rose Bean Tree Farm Tucson, Arizona http://www.beantreefarm.com ***New! Join us on facebook! *

    *Bean Tree Farm is a 20 acre saguaro/ ironwood forest farm & learning center, supplying local desert foods to the community. We harvest, care for and teach about Sonoran Desert native and perennial edible plants and herbs. Food production, resource conservation, solar energy, water harvesting, green building, permaculture & appropriate technology are woven together in an integrated system and rich learning environment. Bean Tree Farm also partners with schools and organizations to provide hands-on educational experiences for students as interns, volunteers and workshop participants.*

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