On Friday mornings, people meet on Radstadt’s town square, where else? 😉
This is where the weekly market has been held for an incredible 29 (!) years. For many, it has long been part of the weekly routine to stock up on fresh food and much more. Quality is a top priority at the weekly market, because here you only find high-quality produce – everything from local farmers and producers. Whether young or old, all generations enjoy coming to Radstadt to the weekly market, because everyone appreciates the fresh, seasonal and regional produce. Understandable – who doesn’t like to buy wonderfully fragrant and freshly baked bread, juicy red tomatoes, crisp apples, tangy mountain cheese, soothing herbal teas or tasty bacon with a guarantee of origin?
Ernst Kocher from the organic farm Steinergut in Radstadt, is an absolute expert in beekeeping and herbology and has been part of the weekly market since the very beginning. Today he lets us in on the inside story:
How the weekly market came about
On 10th July 1992, the first market took place on the town square – even back then on a Friday morning too. The idea came about through discussions amongst a few local shopkeepers who were so enthusiastic about their idea that they soon put their thoughts and ideas into practice and brought the market into being. A former supermarket owner in the town centre was not at all enthusiastic about the market at the beginning. He saw the market as competition to his grocery business and feared a loss of sales. But it didn’t take him long to realise that, he too, was benefiting from this new idea. Of course, he sold less fruit and vegetables on Fridays, but more customers came to his shop and were interested in other goods.
Pulling together, strengthening each other and benefiting from each other – this is still true today, because the Radstadt weekly market not only attracts countless locals to the Radstadt town centre on this morning, but also many customers from the surrounding towns and not to forget our guests, of course. I’m sure you feel the same way I do: when I’m on holiday in Italy, I take home wine, parmesan, prosciutto or olive oil from exactly this region. I want to take a piece of my holiday home with me, to extend the most beautiful days of the year. Isn’t that how you feel, dear holiday guests? 😊
So, but now back to 1992: In the beginning, there were a total of 6 vendors who offered their products for sale at the weekly market. The market soon enjoyed great popularity and attracted more and more customers. The number of vendors and the variety of products on offer has also grown enormously over the last three decades. In order to be able to offer a wider range of products, it was decided after some time to change the name from Grünmarkt (green market) to Wochenmarkt (weekly market). In the meantime, the project has become intergenerational: while it was the parents who drove to the market in the beginning, it is now the children who have taken over the parental farms and production sites and continue the tradition of driving to the weekly market in Radstadt. In this way, the market is constantly evolving and yet remains true to its tradition.
Silver jubilee celebrations
On 22nd September 2017, Radstadt celebrated the 25th anniversary of the weekly market. To mark the occasion, every customer received a small gift and the stallholders also raffled off a total of 25 full gift baskets among all visitors. It will be interesting to see what the organisers come up with for the 30th anniversary next year.
The weekly market today
In the meantime, the market has 17 vendors. They try to make a distinction between the types of goods on offer: On the upper town square, mainly food and herbs are offered, but also flowers and ointments. On the lower town square, you will find Austria’s first mobile travel agency, decorative artificial flowers, dog food and if you don’t have a shopping bag or basket at hand, you will also find a basket maker who will provide you with the missing shopping accessories.
What customers appreciate about the Radstadt weekly market
Most of the customers are already regulars and many friendships have already developed through the weekly meetings. Many appreciate the good advice and the information about the products they get directly from the producers. They can also exchange ideas and chat with old acquaintances here at the market, which of course contributes to their well-being in addition to the healthy products. Another plus point for the Radstadt weekly market is that it takes place all year round, apart from around 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
The market traders say THANK YOU
THANK YOU to all vendors for the good cooperation and the community, THANK YOU to the loyal (regular) customers and a big THANK YOU also to the town council for its support and the weekly set-up and dismantling of the market stalls.
photo credits: Julia Winter