There is nothing like buying fresh produce on an open-air farmers’ market – but what may be common in other European cities has been missing in the Czech capital for years. Now things have finally changed. The very first farmers’ market was held in the district of Dejvice in March and immediately attracted some fifteen thousand people. On Saturday, the stalls opened for the second time.
Saturday morning was drizzly and cold, but the farmers’ market in Dejvice was crowded with people eager to buy fresh home-made products. Shoppers waited in long queues in front of the stalls with vegetables, fruit, sausages and flowers. The market is organized by the Prague Town Hall along with Gurmán Association, which selects the farmers who put their goods up for sale and guarantees the quality of the products. Gurmán Association’s Pavel Šťastný explains what led them to take part in the project:
“First of all, people from Prague were starved for the possibility to buy food directly from the farmers. The products are of high-quality, they are home made and people know who they are buying them from. At the same time, farmers have to sell their products with minimal profit into wholesale. This is an opportunity to sell it directly with ideal profit. The third reason is that many people are really interested in cooking and as chefs say, if you want to cook a good meal, you have to buy quality ingredients.”
Judging by the number of people who came on Saturday, a farmers’ market is something Czechs were really waiting for. One of the longest queues has formed in front of the bakers’ stall. Its owner Zdeněk Štefan came all the way from Luková u Lanškrouna in east Bohemia. He set on the journey at half past two in the morning in order to open at eight.
“We are a family bakery, we have about thirty employees. I have inherited it from my parents and I try to keep up the tradition and the old recipes. We offer many specialties, such as gingerbread rolls with almonds and jam and hand-rolled bread and buns; everything is made according to traditional recipes. I like these markets because I am in direct contact with the customers and I can find out what people like and whether we should make more of certain products. It is great!”
So what did the people think of the market and what did they buy? I caught up with a young woman who was just loading her basket with some goat cheese:
“I bought some flowers and I am planning to shop some more, I also bought some apples and juice.”
“I put them in my car because it was completely full and I couldn’t shop anymore.”
Does it mean you don’t live in this district?
“I was born in this district but now I live outside of Prague. Unfortunately there are no places like this in the town where I live. I hope my town will also establish a market like this.”