Czechs are a very outdoorsy people, and so I was surprised to learn that farmers’ markets are a relatively recent phenomenon here. According to expats.cz,
Elsewhere in Europe, consumers have had the opportunity to purchase locally-sourced food and drink from farmers’ markets for many years. But in the Czech Republic, the concept of buying sausages, cheese or vegetables directly from the farmer rather than from a shop or supermarket took off only very recently; the first market was held on 20 March 2010 in Dejvice, Prague 6. Around 15,000 people visited the market, highlighting the great demand in the capital for a farmers’ market.
Fortunately, by the time I moved to Prague in the summer of 2011, I had a variety of markets in Prague from which to choose. My go-to farmers’ market (or farmářský trh), however, is Náplavka, situated along a picturesque stretch of the Vltava riverbank. It’s the most central market in the city and it makes for a delightful weekend outing. Náplavka recently opened again for the 2012 season, so I stopped by on Saturday to stock up on goodies for my kitchen and take in some much-needed sun.
The Náplavka market features both food and handmade goods from local artisans. Depending on the season, you can find fresh fruits and vegetables, juice, dairy products, plants, herbs, bread, pastries, meat, and fish. Artists sell stained glass, ceramics, and metalwork. There are also pop-up restaurants serving everything from Balkan food to hearty soups. The farmers’ market is a great place to find classic Czech treats like pickled fish, wine, and medovina, or mead.
Hefaistos is a collective of blacksmiths who create otherwordly metal sculptures, jewelry, and utensils. They do metalworking demonstrations (the old-fashioned way, with an anvil) at their booth.
You can also find seasonal flowers and plants at the market. Czech winters are notoriously gloomy, so it was a delight to see these brightly-colored flowers–a reminder that spring is just around the corner.
Bramborové spiraly is Czech for “spiral potatoes.” These potatoes are spiral-cut with a drill, deep fried, and then served in a paper cone. Probably not the healthiest snack in the world, but undoubtedly delicious.
Davídkovo Koření sells spices and herb mixtures made without salt or gluten. I started eating gluten-free last fall, so this was a nice surprise. Their blends smell amazing and come with food pairing recommendations.
BioVavřinec sells organic dairy products, including milk, butter, and cheeses. I was lucky enough to nab their last 1000g tub of yogurt.
And of course, the desserts: all-natural, preservative-free pies and traditional Czech pastries, to name a few.
I’m looking forward to another delicious season of farmers’ markets in Prague!
Náplavka Farmers’ Market
Rašínovo nábřeží 2 (on the riverbank), Prague 2 – Vyšehrad, Metro Karlovo náměstí (B)
Learn more about farmers’ markets around the Czech Republic
*Photos 1, 2, 5, 6 by Fred Schendel