Sunflowers, pumpkin seeds, freshly baked bread, tasty ham and cheese, juicy apples and brilliant red tomatoes – images from a farmers’ market in Graz. A healthy ruddy tint on the cheerful stall holding ladies’ cheeks too, as they present their fresh, home-grown wares on Kaiser-Josef-Platz square. There is a market every day (Monday - Saturday), but on Saturdays practically all of Graz drops by to fill their baskets, with the option to round off with refreshments with friends at one of the popular snack bars there.
What originally was called Holzmarktplatz (wood market square) was renamed Kaiser-Josef-Platz in the 19th century. In gratefulness to the emperor who had granted religious freedom to the Protestants. The first Protestant praying room installed in Graz after the Edict of Tolerance had been issued was also built in this square. It is today's Heilandskirche.
But Graz people rather associate Kaiser-Josef-Platz with culinary delights, with typically Styrian specialities offered in this square by the farmers every day. Much of the produce is organically grown. Or/and has a special tradition in Styria: Käferbohnen (scarlet runner beans), apples and, of course, pumpkin-seed oil.
Buy it directly from the farmer, and you will get the best quality. He needs 30-35 pumpkins, has to take out the seed, dry and grind it, heat it with little water and then press this dough in the "Ölkuh" (oil cow) to get one litre of the dark gold. Pumpkin-seed oil is ideal for salads. But Styrians are inventive and enjoy the oil in different variations, even with vanilla ice-cream.
While nearly 90% of the Austrian pumpkins are grown in Styria, the percentage for apples is nearly 80%. On the farmers' market you will not only find international varieties but increasingly the old aromatic local ones, such as Kronprinz Rudolf, Schafnase, or Ilzer Rose.
Homemade farmer's bread, bacon and smoked sausages, homemade cakes, fresh flowers, even lovingly raised seedlings from the farmer's garden. Thus the "townies" can harvest their own tomatoes on the balcony.
+++ By the way +++
The farmers' market is not the right thing for late risers. According to the market regulations, the stalls must be closed by 13.00. On Sundays the farmers do not come at all.