Tuesday, 22 August 2023
If you fancy a freshly made organic ice-cream in Bremen be prepared to work out – hope for good weather, rent a bicycle and do as many locals do: Set out on a 15 kilometers ride, first in direction University, and then on the
dyke safeguarding the land against the river Wümme to a dairy farm run by friendly family Kaemena in Niederblockland.
On the embankment cars are allowed with a special permit only, but an astonishing number of locals come here by bicycle, foot or skating to enjoy an organic ice-cream (the scoop goes for 2.20 EUR in 2023), coffee or cold organic drink and enjoy the farm and the countryside.
The ice-cream is made right here on the farm: from the milking station to the ice-cream factory it's only about 25 metres, and another few metres to the cafe.
Don't miss the poppy seed ice-cream and the varieties based on buttermilk and yogurt. And please, avoid ordering your ice-cream in a one-way paper cup: for a little surplus you can have a vegan wafer cup (free for two or more scoops), compostable if you do not eat it. You may also take a free wafer ice-spoon instead of a plastics one.
Opening hours on pleasant summer days may be a little longer than announced,
and the ice-cream parlour is closed in winter.
The farm itself is driven according to the seven Bioland principles, with about 80 cows (which all have individual names) and calves who are fed by and kept together with their mothers until they eat grass and hay (which is at an age of about five weeks). The cattle race comes without horns naturally, so no harm is done to the animals in order to remove them. The farm also keeps a few other animals like geese, two pigs, a couple of goats, pheasants and chicken (both hens and cocks) and gives home to a lot of wildlife like a sparrow colony and swallows.
There's a nice playground for children, and if you want to stay longer (minimum one week) the family rents out several pleasant holiday apartments (but make sure to book well in advance for holiday seasons).
In May 2022 the Kaemenas opened a new Sunday-open ice-cream parlour cum farm shop in the Neustadt. If you don't want to have your ice-cream on the go, there's little seating, a few benches outdoor, and some high chairs inside, to have a coffee, milk-shake or a "cold" chocolate with ice-cream. The cafe participates in the Recup scheme, so make sure to have your hot or cold drink to take away in a returnable cup.
Unlike the cafe at the farm this place will keep open around the year and provide you not only with ice-cream but also with cheese, jogurt, and milk.
Starting with the covid-19 summers a stylish mobile coffee bar of the Coffee Bike franchise has been popping up in the very city centre on Ansgarikirchhof during the warm season. In addition to the fully organic coffee drinks there is a separate mobile booth with Kaemena's ice-cream. Unfortunately they do not offer neither eatable ice-cream wafers nor earthenware cups for the coffee, so you are forced to enjoy it in non-compostable one-way cups unless you bring your own.
If you are in the vicinity of the university's refectory around lunch time on a weekday visit the organic ice-cream booth inside the
Uni-Mensa: Opposite the refectory's check-out you get the scoop of organic ice-cream produced in Hamburg at an unbeatable price (1.30 EUR in 2023). They offer three dairy and even more vegan flavours (my favourite: the vegan salted peanut butter). You may pay cash or by the Studierendenwerk prepaid card.
[Bremen, Neustadt, Blockland, organic, ice-cream, cafe, accommodation, farms]
Thursday, 25 August 2022
Organic and eco-conscious trade in the city of Bremen is still dominated by smaller shops and supermarkets closing between 6 and 7 pm, and between noon and 2 pm on Saturdays. Although outlets of the Alnatura and Aleco organic supermarket chains keep open until 8 pm, you might end up quite frustrated if your schedule doesn't allow for day-time-on-weekdays shopping.
Big conventional supermarkets and discounter shops in Bremen like Rewe and Penny often keep open until 10 pm Monday to Saturday. The latter puts green labels on the shelves in front of organic products which help to find organically certified food.
There's a cluster of Sunday-open shops inside Hauptbahnhof, the main train station, and these usually keep open on public holidays, too. So unless you're longing for fresh veges or frozen food, you should be safe, even on Sundays and in the evening.
A small selection of fresh fruit, dairy products and non-dairy alternatives, drinks, dry food, sweets, natural cosmetics and a full-fledged range of bread, rolls, and pastries (both, sweet and savoury) can be found at the Reformhaus Bacher health-food shop (before 2021 its name was "Betterlife"). All fresh bakery products are organic, but you have to check for organic labels on pre-packaged items as about half the products on offer aren't certified as organic food or natural cosmetics.
With their own brands "Alterra" (certified natural cosmetics), "Eco-Freude" (sustainable household detergents) and "Alverde" (food) Rossmann drugstores are an alternative for the small purse. The branch inside Hauptbahnhof keeps open 16 hours a weekday, and 14 on weekends and bank holidays. It's easy to find: Climb the stairs to the right after entering the central station from the Bahnhofsplatz tram and bus hub.
What's unique for a German city is that there's a Sunday-open package-free convenience store:
Selfair at the Steintor.
For pre-packaged organic sausage and meat products, predominantly in the jar head for the Lebensmittel-Punkt inside the Markthalle 8 food court at Domshof. When you enter the building there's a 24x7 open vending machine at the right hand side where you can buy a lot of regional sausage specialities as well as ready-made meat stock.
You can also put orders of fresh meat at their webshop and collect your order on Fridays and Saturdays between 11 am and 6 pm from the dish counter of the food court.
The name "Lebensmittel-Punkt" is a play on words – the composed noun can mean both, "place to buy food" and "centre of vital interest".
At the organic farm of the Kaemena family in Blockland you'll find 24x7 open vending machines for local organic products. Here
you can tap raw or pasteurized milk into your own bottle, the liter for 1.20 EUR.
If you did not bring one you can buy a returnable milk bottle for the price of 2 EUR the Regiomat vending machine which also stocks jam, drinking yogurt and cheese from the farm as well as cheese, eggs, honey and sausage in the jar by organic farms in the vicinity. In addition there's a little freezer with iced lollies at 2.50 EUR the piece for which you pay into the honesty box next to it – all worth the bicycle tour on the dyke as cars need a special permission to come here. Don't forget to bring cash.
Both, the jam and jogurt glasses can be returned here for re-use (there's a separate "waste-bin" next to the vending machine), but to get back the deposit for the milk bottles you have to turn to the farm cafe during its opening hours.
In 2022 a second milk vending machine and a Regiomat found their way into the city: In front of the Friedenskirche in the Viertel you can however tap pasteurized milk only, no raw milk. As the milk has to come here by car the prize for the liter is higher than the one next to the milking parlour.
And last but not least: The Kaemena's newly (in 2022) established ice-cream cum farm shop in the Neustadt part of town keeps open on Sundays and public holidays and sells jogurt, cheese and naturally milk.
[Bremen, Blockland, organic, supermarkets, grocery, bodycare, trainstation, farms, Regiomat]