Oogstmarkt Insights: Vegan Galore
Updated: Feb 15, 2021
written and photographed by Mara
Oh, farmers’ markets.
Imagine you are standing on the Coolsingel, drop a pin and draw a radius of 50 kilometres. That is the Rotterdamse Oogst. A farmer’s market where handmade goods, food galore, local musicians, and fresh goodness come together. A Rotterdam hub filled with goodness, equipped with love, and the friendliest vendors you can imagine. The craftsmanship is abundant, the produce plentiful, and the choices to be made difficult. Common sense meets world citizens, craft meets design, and forgotten vegetables meet innovation.
While we probably all have a chain supermarket ‘round the corner (I see you Albert Heijn, Dirk, or Jumbo), we never know the face behind the products we buy. By going to farmers markets we get the food directly (producers –> consumers) and thereby circumvent the middlemen in the food supply chain. While, for sure, chain markets offer you a quick and easy solution to satisfy your need for food – the alternatives to the uniform standardized mass-produced goods on sale will certainly leave you to be a happier person. The Oogstmarkt in Rotterdam is about decreasing the distance between farmer and fork, between maker and taster. The philosophy behind it is simple: strengthening the regional food chain, enticing urban consumers to increase awareness and purchase of regional and home-made food, and offering fresh and healthy produce that is good for the environment, biodiversity, and the consumer themselves.
The adverse effects of large-scale farming are vast (think: avocados and bananas travelling hundreds of kilometres from harvest to purchase, heavily processed products potentially including non-sustainable palm oil derivatives, transport pollution resulting from air freight and an increasing disconnection between who produces and who consumes). But: there is hope! I was thrilled to find out that many of my international friends have never heard about it and only continuously visit the Binnenrotte Market at Blaak (between Meent and the Blaak metro station, in front of the Markthal). But as a true Rotterdammer, you cannot miss out on the most enjoyable, sociable, personal shopping experience on offer.
Oogstmarkt - Saturdays from 10am to 5pm
On Saturday the 19th of December, and Wednesday the 23rd, R'damse Oogst brings the Christmas spirit to the market! Get yourself some well-deserved treats for the holidays, have a cup of Glühwein, and get your serving of heart-warming local music to get you in the holiday mood.
The best stalls, most welcoming vendors, and tastiest products suitable for vegans and beyond.
But let’s get straight to the point. The past few weeks I have frequented the Oogstmarkt every Saturday (open from 10:00 - 17:00 every Saturday) to find the best stalls, most welcoming vendors, and tastiest products that are suitable for vegans (and beyond). I’ll give you a tad of background knowledge for each to give it a personal touch. Let me tell you, visiting the Oogstmarkt in Rotterdam does not only satisfy your needs for sweet or savoury but will also relieve some social and moral issues you might have encountered while food shopping. Let me introduce some of the good ones to you.
Originally from London, Richard and Martha escaped the UK in autumn 2019 (can anyone imagine why?). Inspired by their travels, they aspired to recreate the tastes they were able to indulge in. And so, Hummus&Zo was founded. Richard’s twist on traditional recipes is a good one: while integrating the idea of ‘traditionality’ he acknowledges that the term in itself is very loaded with our own personal experiences. Traditional can mean ‘my mum made it this way’, ‘this is how I had it in Beirut’, or else. While trying to stay true to the culture the dishes originate from, he gives them his own twist. Be prepared, every week the dips are a surprise and he constantly improves, tweaks, and alternates.
Vegan hummus (with home-made tahini and za’atar!)
Muhammara (roast walnut and pepper dip from the Levant)
Baba ghanoush (he roasts and turns all aubergines himself!)
Artichoke dip (zesty and refreshing)
Tahini (prefer a darker or a lighter roast?)
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I have to include it, I’m sorry (German). This is the closest anything can get to the taste of home. The partner of the owner is German, so most recipes originally come from Germany and/or are developed over time. If you’re sick of store-bought bread, soft and chewy, and you’re in need of a proper, satisfying loaf – get one of theirs. What more do you want than loaves made with real sourdough that rise a long time, incorporating stone-ground flour supplied by the Stichting De Schiedamse Molen (and therefore preserving a tangible and intangible heritage)? Part of their flour comes from the Eendragtspolder close to Zevenhuisen which aims to increase and sustain the biodiversity in the polder. My favourite bread is (apart from their sesame-coated sourdough) the one that takes ‘bostel’, a by-product of beer brewing, and turns it into a super-sustainable loaf of goodness. Speaking of circularity: the bostel often comes from local breweries such as Kaapse Brouwers (a Rotterdam staple) or Vet & Lazy. Bring your own bag and there will be no moral-ethical dilemmas attached.
Vogelfutterbrot (whole-grain, with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, linseeds, perfect for a proper German ‘Abendbrot’ with dips and spreads)
Brezeln (Pretzels, as the English-speaking world calls them, crispy and golden-brown with just the right crunch and chewiness)
At the moment they also have vegan German ‘Stollen’ (which I will make a separate post on since it’s imperative to include this rich goodness in any proper Christmas celebration, but essentially, Stollen is a fruit bread with nuts, spices, dried and candied fruit, coated in powdered sugar.)
AND MUCH MORE!
I have seldom met a friendlier guy than Alessandro. Not only does he make you grin like a pinwheel in the wind, but also supply you with the tastiest goods straight from Italy. In these cold Rotterdam-days I dream of sunshine caressing my skin in the golden sun of Tuscany, and he gifts you with a slice of it. Most importantly and what I cannot live without anymore: vegan cheese. You heard it right. Fermaggio as the Italian vegan cheese is called comes either as the fresh or aged variant, is obtained from the fermentation of cashews and macadamia nuts that are ground with granite stones. Rich in probiotic enzymes, vitamins, and mineral salts it’s the perfect thing to get you going, morning or night. The best part? The taste. And the fact that the nuts are selected sustainable fair trade.
Vegan parmesan (with different flavours: red pepper, herbs, …)
High-quality olive oil
Plant-based slices (vegan cheeses and sausages)
Clark? That does not only stand for fermented quality, but rather for the owner and founder of CLARK fermentations: Claudia Arkesteijn. While Claudia’s enthusiasm will for sure make you as bubbly and happy as her Kombucha does, her mission is what intrigued me the most. What started off as a hobby turned into a mission to introduce people to the health benefits of fermentation. As a dietician, she knows about goings and workings of our gut – or our second brain, as she calls it.
But, enough about bacteria – more about the products she has on offer that contain these essential organisms. If you have never tried them, you should: Kimchi, Kombucha, and Tempeh (you can find a Kimchi recipe here, and we will soon supply you with the methods and means to make your own Kombucha and Tempeh, since I myself are an avid fermentation-fan).
So. If you’re up for some definitely high-quality fermented produce, or you just want to give your tastebuds something new to be tingled with: give CLARK a go. You’ll be supporting something great.
Pumpkin chutney (with curry, ginger, carrot, and raisins)
Kombucha (in a variety of flavours)
Pumpkin spice syrup
Tempeh (made out of the wildest grains and legumes you can imagine, Buckwheat, Chickpeas, with sesame…)
There will be “Glühbucha” (Sinterklaas kombucha) from December on to get you into the Christmas mood!
Follow CLARK on Instagram!
Nothing but tomatoes. Believe it or not, but the days of boring red tomatoes from the supermarket are over: with more than 40 types of tomatoes you’ll swim in a pool of variety you won’t be able to choose from lightheartedly. Nothing but tomatoes is actually untrue. Apart from tomatoes, you’ll meet two very wonderful people: Christel and Angelo might as well be the nicest individuals I have met in a long, long, long time. During the tomato season, they come with their old but revamped Volkswagen pick up to gather the freshest tomatoes from Poeldijk (near Den Haag) and bring the yellow, green, red, sprinkled, striped, small and big happy juice-balls to the market. The truck is a remnant from Angelo’s dad, steadily driving since 1978. He is usually engaged in journalism but dedicates a chunk of his time to help out a friend. Tommy Teler is actually the sales brother of Eminent (https://www.eminentfood.nl/nl-nl/), where the love apples and other produce are predominantly sold to hospitality businesses. So, we can be happy that they bring exquisite, spectacular goods to a place where we can easily access them.
Well… TOMATOES! (be warned: you might get addicted; they explode your mouth with flavour)
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Normally, you’d find Anne and her fruit and veg stall at the Fenix Food Factory, but due to a variety of reasons (I see you, Covid) she has expanded her business and now comes to the Oogstmarkt every Saturday. While you could get your veg and fruit from any place – Anne’s worldview and the philosophy behind her products and how she markets them is what makes it so special. We all know that there is an overwhelming amount and too many beautiful products in the world to choose from, Anne is a real gourmet and knows what the good stuff is. “Weird vegetables”, as Anne calls them, (are they? Or are they just not available at your bog-standard chain supermarket?) are her speciality – those that you usually can’t get your hands on. Having two suppliers (Landzicht, whom we all should know, an organic farm in Hoeksche Waard, south of Rotterdam and Karel van der Vorm, a vegetable wholesaler) gives her the opportunity to process the vegetables the suppliers can no longer sell into delightful preserves and conserves. The leftovers are pickled or preserved into chutneys, jams, with oil or salt. The preserves and veg change every week depending on what’s available. But you’ll be sure to find preserved red onions with red wine and vinegar, preserved lemons, pickled cucumber…
Apart from that, you’ll be surprised by the plethora of “weird” things you’ll find, Buddha’s hand, purple cauliflower, seedless avocados, black corn, you name it. Key here is that, while the majority of products are naturally vegan, Anne doesn’t put a label onto herself. Her philosophy rests on the basis of finding new, innovative produce, supporting local businesses, and engaging suppliers that share her vision of bringing unknown delicacies back to the people.
Changing preserves every week
“Weird veg” – be surprised.
The best freshly pressed orange juice
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ALOHA, the low waste food bar at the Maasboulevard in Rotterdam, revolves around maximum creativity and working to radically reinvent hospitality to create as little waste as possible. The focal point is using the entirety of a product and storing the residuals for later use. Once restaurants open again, make sure to visit. The terrace is enchanting and you’ll be gifted with mind-boggling views of the Rotterdam bridges. But let’s talk food now: ALOHA comes to the Oogstmarkt and delivers the best Bitterballen you’ll ever have, made with oyster mushrooms (Oesterzwammen) (look into Rotterzwam if you’re interested in how and where the mushrooms grow. Hint-hint: we’re talking circularity).
You cannot only eat freshly-fried Bitterballen (sorry, the Coffee mayonnaise is not vegan ☹) but also get some goodies to take home.
Follow ALOHA on Instagram!
Last but not least: make sure to visit MAAK if you’re in for a Saturday treat (maybe accompanied with a Kashmiri Oat Chai from Mecca). MAAK runs a concept store in the West of Rotterdam, but comes to the market delivering a variety of vegan home-made sweets, like Snickers cake, walnut cake, lemon slices, and… PLANTS IN CUTE POTS! If you’re done strolling and got your goodies, grant yourself a treat and sit down on one of the benches by the water. You’ll thank me later.
Changing variety of vegan sweets and cakes
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I hope y’all made it to the end of the post and I managed to convince you that the Rotterdamse Oogst is a must-go on a Saturday. You can count on me being there, usually for at least half of the day. Everyone I have taken with me so far has fallen in love, just like me. Rotterdam has so much on offer, and we often forget to look for the things that are happening outside of our neighbourhood. You, too, will love the Oogstmarkt, not just for the obvious reasons of getting delicate, hand-made food and spending a wholesome morning, but also for the fact that while you graciously shop, you support a good cause. There are real humans behind the food that you’ll get and we are in dire moral need to support small local businesses who put an emphasis on sustainable, locally grown, and accessible food.
If you have any questions for the vendors, either drop by on a Saturday between 10 am and 5 pm, or check their socials to get some more insights.
See you next Saturday at the Oogst!