One of my favorite things about Switzerland is all the local food. I’m a big advocate, whenever possible, to eat locally and try to reduce our carbon footprint by regularly eating goods that are transported hundreds or thousands of miles. The Swiss are very proud of their local foods, and all foods are required to have the country of origin located somewhere on the packaging (or in the case of the grocery store, on the sign). Sometimes you pay a bit more for Swiss goods, but I think it is worth it.
Every Tuesday and Friday in the Winterthur altstadt (old town), there is a farmers market. I’m not sure what time the shops set up, but at 10:45 AM every one of them begins packing up goods (but a please and a smile will get you a few last-minute goods). Usually all of the food is local, with perhaps cherries from France or olives from Greece, but usually no further than that. There are copious amounts of small farms with stands packed with the season’s best and tons of florists. (The Swiss are keen to keep fresh flowers on the graves and in their window boxes. I’ve seen some truly outstanding gardens as well.) There are also two fish stands, a number of cheese and bread stands, some selling fresh homemade pasta, and a tiny spot for a lady that only sells fresh organically grown herbs.
I love going there whenever I can. The folks are always incredibly nice and helpful. I often get free samples offered to me, and sometimes they’ll toss something extra in my bag when I buy stuff. I’ve gotten free mushrooms, a bag of fresh egg noodles, extra Japanese Lantern shells, and even extra apples. Unless there is an event in the altstadt, pretty much each shop is in the same spot every week. It is nice when I want to say, just get some fish and some bread, or I’m craving a slice of lemon chocolate chip cake from a baked goods stand that is all the way at one end of the market line.
The market is year-round, but there are fewer stalls in the early spring, when there’s not much produce to sell other than stored apples and potatoes and eggs. During the month of December the Christmas Market competes for space in the altstadt. Practically each town in Switzerland has a farmers market once or twice a week – there’s even one in the middle of the busy Zurich hauptbahnhof (main train station)!
Here’s a few pictures of my cherished Winterthur market, mostly taken earlier in the summer.