There are three reasons I never made it earlier. First of all timing is difficult with the event taking place each last Sunday of the month. Secondly, Park Frankendael is far out there in Amsterdam East with not much else going on in the area. And finally, I have been to one too many food markets that promised organic or sustainable food but did not deliver.
Last Sunday I finally made it there. And the scene at the entrance of Pure Markt seemed to confirm my initial suspicion. Yet another food themed event with a great concept but poor execution, more of a kids playground than a market, with only a few stalls offering everything from esoteric jewelry to patchwork bags and blankets and no decent food anywhere in sight.
But as I walked further towards the stalls, I could not help but notice an incredibly tasty smell of home made sausages on a barbecue. The smell came from the Berkshire Butcher, the first of many great food stalls offering an amazing variety of tasty produce. What impressed me most was the artisanal character of the Pure Markt. Many of the people promoting and selling the food, were actually the producers themselves. And they encouraged people to try the produce, told them about the whereabouts of their wares, made suggestions for their preparation and were happy to tell the story of their food business.
As I walked further along the market, I tried many products and brought home a nice stash of exciting food items. Here are some of the highlights.
The Berkshire Butcher – Frank Bunnik
The Berkshire Butcher is a small business making sausages from The Duke of Berkshire pigs. They acquire live pigs from a single supplier and make great sausages from the flavorful meat of these special pigs. They have a number of different sausage types, including typical English and herb infused Italian ones, each made with the regional spices and herbs.
I had a barbecued sausage on the spot and loved how juicy and flavorful it was!
Other than on Pure Markt, the Berkshire Butcher sells his sausages on the Haarlemmerplein market in Amsterdam each Wednesday. For more information see www.berkshirebutcher.com.
Grape Farm Nieuw Tuinzight
Grape Farm Nieuw Tuinzight is the last remaining active grape farmer in the Netherlands. The family run business goes back to 1885 and today grows Frankenthaler, Alicante and Muscat grapes in 14 green houses near Delft.
I tried the Frankenthaler and loved it! The grapes had been cut that same morning and were incredibly fresh. They are organic and have a very smooth taste, not too sweet but with many different aromas. Almost like a good glass of wine.
Nieuw Tuinzight has a shop on their farm that is open during harvest season from August until November. They also organize events such as open days or group lunches. For more information see www.druivenkwekerij.nl.
Futuro Verde is a project run by a group of Dutch emigrants. They have an olive farm in Sicily on which people can adopt a tree or rent a vacation home. The olives are harvested and pressed and the oil sold entirely untreated on markets in the Netherlands. The oil was nice and thick and had a pure, slightly sweet flavor. The price was quite reasonable at € 10,= per bottle.
There were many more interesting stalls where passionate artisans offered their produce. Zilt & Zalig had four different kinds of oysters on offer. Brouwerij De Prael, an Amsterdam based microbrewery that employs handicapped people, let us taste their beers named after famous Amsterdam singers. And slightly yuppie Japanese store Roppongi arranged tastings of five kinds of sake.