One of my favorite things about Europe is that farmers markets are everywhere. Small towns. Big cities. Tiny, out-of-the-way places that seem like they wouldn’t be able to support one. Everywhere I go, I find markets dedicated to local produce and artisanal food.
It makes me feel rich. All these piles of bright fruits and veggies, unlabeled jam jars, repurposed water bottles full of homemade apple juice – all ripe for the taking, ready for cooking or baking or simply eating.
And I’m happy to say that Bern, Switzerland is no exception to the rule. Here – in Switzerland’s capital – you’ll find a twice-weekly farmers market almost year-round. So stop by for ingredients if you have a kitchen or picnic fare if you don’t. Keep your eyes peeled for garlic cheese spread (sold in nondescript plastic containers, so if you see an unlabeled one, ask), apple juice in unmarked jugs, cloud-like focaccia bread, and cheese made with pine needles.
How to get there
From the main train station, turn left (east) on Spitalgasse. Follow this to where it intersects Bärenplatz and you’ll find the farmers market spread out to your right (food vendors) and left (non-food vendors).
When to go
As of this writing, the market is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from January to March and in November. It opens at 8 a.m. and wraps up at 5 or 6 p.m. In the warmer months – April through October – it’s open Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m. In December, the farmers market is replaced with Bern’s big Christmas market.
What to expect
Fresh produce (both organic/bio and standard), marinated vegetables, homemade spreads (try to get your hands on some garlic cheese spread), pasta, baked goods, dried fruits, mushrooms, jams, cheeses, meats, lunch/snack stands.
German and French, though you’ll find most vendors speak English.
Note that this is not the famous onion market, which happens the fourth Monday in November, features 150 food stalls, hosts over 50 tons of onion and garlic, and can be learned about here.
What (else) to do in Bern, Switzerland
Check out one local’s recommendations here.