Baskets of alpine strawberries from Styria, Austria.

If you’ve ever visited Graz, you know that it is the culinary capital of Austria. With a population of only 450,000, there are 14 Graz Farmers Markets in this Unesco World Heritage city. The citizens of Graz take their produce seriously, with two markets open daily. These markets have long been a tradition in Austria, selling farm fresh produce, local meats and cheese, bread, fresh pressed oil and colorful flowers, among other agricultural products.

 

Food connection in Graz, Austria

The connection between farmers and food is strong in Graz. In fact, many residents are on a first name basis with their local farmers market vendors.

Not only are there a plethora of markets, more than 300 small farmers surround Graz. In fact, 80 percent of the apples in Austria come from the southern state of Styria. No wonder Austria has the market cornered on apple strudel!

Bouquets of pink, white, peach and red roses, along with gerbera daisies.

Flowers on display at Kaiser- Josef Farmers Market. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

The connection with our food and farmers is something we’re losing in today’s fast-paced world. We’re digitally connected and communicating online at a frantic pace, but are we forgetting to connect with the roots of our food sources?

At the daily farmers markets, the food connection in Graz is a real thing. Here, people know what is in season and where the fruits, vegetables and even farm fresh eggs are sourced. This is what I experienced while exploring Austria and the food connection in Graz. From shopping at the daily markets to meeting the men and women working in the specialty food shops and restaurants in Graz, I was able to smell and taste the commitment to fresh, quality and locally sourced ingredients.

open face sandwich platter, smoked salmon, curry, roast beef, ham & cheese.

Delikatessen Frankowitsch open-face sandwiches.

“As a tour guide, my job is to show you the food connection in Graz,” explained Claudia Kastner.  “Graz Tourism offers culinary walks in old town. We typically offer a four stop culinary tour. We might start at Lend Farmers Market, a coffee shop, a restaurant (Oho Cafe Restaurant & Bar on our tour) and have a sweet end at a chocolate shop.”

 

chocolates and chocolate truffles on display at Linzbichler Susswaren chocolate shop in Graz, Austria.

Linzbichler Susswaren chocolates photo © Nancy D. Brown

Need to know:

If you want to do Graz like a local, you’ll want to hit the farmers market early. The markets open daily from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. except Sunday. The markets are closed on Sunday for locals to attend church.

Gartenbau Langbauer farmer holding bottle of pumpkin seed oil at farmers market on Lendplatz.

Fresh-pressed pumpkin seed oil at Lendplatz Farmers Market. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Insider tip:

When you visit Graz, you’ll discover pumpkin seed oil. The Austrians use this dark brown oil in salads, on fruit and poured over vanilla ice cream. I fell in love with the pumpkin seed oil enough to commit to checking my luggage and packing it home to California with me. Sure, you can buy pumpkin seed oil online, but you’ll want to purchase it fresh from one of the many Graz Farmers Markets or it may be purchased in local specialty stores.

For additional insider tips follow luxury travel writer @Nancydbrown on Twitter or Instagram @Nancydbrown and Graz Tourism at Visit Graz on Instagram.

Green, white and purple asparagus in stacks at Kaiser-Josef Market.

Fresh asparagus on display at Kaiser-Josef Market.

If You Go:

You’ll need an advance reservation from Graz Tourism for the Culinary Walking Tour. The Graz Farmers Markets are free and open to the public. There is an additional fee for the Culinary Walking Tour.

I was a guest of Graz Tourism and Austria Tourism while attending Propel Graz conference. All opinions of Graz Farmers Markets are my own.