The Organic Traveller
Thursday, 25 August 2022

Bremen: Sunday and late-night addresses for organic stuff

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.

Reformhaus Bacher

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.

Rossmann Express Bremen Hauptbahnhof

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.

Lebensmittel-Punkt vending machine

Vending machines

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".

Vending machines at the Kaemena farm

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.

2022-08-25 12:00:00 [Bremen, Blockland, organic, supermarkets, grocery, bodycare, trainstation, farms, Regiomat] Link

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Sunday, 14 August 2022

Organic Bremerhaven

Located at the mouth of the river Weser, the port of Bremerhaven has been ensuring the hanseatic city of Bremen's access to the sea for sea-going ships since the 1820ies. While the container port (and unfortunately also the cruise ship terminal) continue to be important sea hubs, the historic ports of the Havenwelten ("port world") with maritime museums of all kinds make the family-friendly city a perfect destination for everyone interested in science, ships, and (e)migration.

A destination of the easy-going Weserradweg bicycle route Bremerhaven can not only be reached by regional train from Bremen, but also comfortably by bike.

Speisesaal

Eat and drink

Since the Findus cafe and restaurant re-invented itself as an organic bakery during the covid-19 pandemics and staff shortage prevails in 2022 there's currently (to my knowledge) no place to have (predominantly) organic dinner. But during the day take the chance to visit Deutsches Auswandererhaus, a museum dedicated to German emigration to the Americas. The museum has a pleasant cafe cum restaurant, the Speisesaal, with a spacious outdoor terrace facing the quays of the so-called new port in the Havenwelten area.

Their menu consists of two parts: Fully organic, predominantly vegetarian international lunch classics like pasta, stews, and gratins, and not necessarily organic maritime classics like fish soup or fish'n'chips. The organic dishes and beverages are all marked "bio" and can be recognised by the red font colour on the menu. Fish and seafood come from responsible sources. Naturally the milk for coffee drinks is also organic. 2022 staff shortage leads to occasionally slow service, so enjoy the view and be a little patient.

While the Speisesaal is open to the general public, the Cafe südwärts inside the Klimahaus 8° Ost a few steps away can only be accessed with a valid ticket to the museum. The museum features places located on the same lattitude like Bremerhaven as an interactive journey through the (changing) climate zones of the earth and as such is highly recommended by itself. The cafe can be accessed after you come to the river landsacpe of Cameroon and offers organic egg, pasta, orange juice and bionade lemonades. The fish also carries MSC certificates, and there are no meat dishes.

The museum's shop is accessible for non-visitors from the entrance, the so-called Havenplaza. It offers environmentally and socially resposibly produced gifts and dry food, but unfortunately does not serve (fairly traded) coffee.

To have an organic coffee not connected with a museum you have to walk longer south, to the Fischereihafen ("fish port"). Here you'll find a small owner-run café, Grethe's, directly located at the quay. All coffee and milk is organic here, as are most of the ingredients for their cakes and vegetarian food. You can have burgers, pasta dishes, soups and stews, and most drinks apart from a few spirits are organic, too. Unfortunately also this presumably lovely place with its art gallery located in a former motor workshop closes at 6 pm and does not keep open on Mondays and Tuesdays.

For an organic coffee or snack until 8 pm the only opportunity I've seen so far is the self-serviced cafe of the ALECO Biomarkt in the neighbourhood of Lehe, an urban train stop away from the main station.

Food and necessities

Glückswinkel package-free shop organic and responsibly produced small-scale regional food, fresh organic produce of the Findus organic bakery a few steps away, sustainable household items and cleaning agents, clothes for babies and toddlers, repair sets, nice gifts and more.

While the Glückswinkel is located in the centre of the old town, there's no organic convenience store in the mall of the Havenwelten area. Luckily the Grünschnabel Biomarkt is located only a few steps away.

The organic supermarket nearest the main train station is Der Bioladen in the streets around Holzhafen, the part of town that from 1877 for about half a century was used to land and process timber. Note that these two traditional organic supermarkets close at 6 pm and are closed on Saturday afternoons.

To find an organic supermarket with more liberal opening hours you have to go to the neighbourhood of Lehe: There you find a branch of the regional ALECO Biomarkt chain which runs many organic supermarkets in the North of Germany.

Map of all places listed in this article

Closed

Bremerhaven's only fully organic day cafe Findus resettled its activities during the covid-19 pandemics and became an organic bakery only. There are however plans to re-open the cafe, so check on location and ask at the bakery.

2022-08-14 10:30:05 [Bremerhaven, Weserradweg, organic, vegan, coffee, lunch, cafe, supermarkets, grocery, bodycare, zero_waste, unverpackt, fair, corona, covid] Link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author: E-mail · Mastodon · Vero · Ello.

Friday, 05 August 2022

Bremen: Zero-waste

When dedicated zero waste convenience stores started to bloom in bigger cities like Munich in the covid-19 spring of 2020 Bremen already had three established package-free shops, with a fourth one that opened its door early in 2020 and plans for two more. Back then some of the shop keepers were afraid that there might be too many to survive in a city of the size of Bremen, but a year later they are all alive and kicking. Even when you run out of food on a Sunday you can grab your jars and boxes and set out for refill.

L'Epicerie Bio

All you need for the day

My favourite is crowd-funded L'Epicerie Bio in the Neustadt neighbourhood, just across Wilhelm Kaisen bridge. Lovingly decorated in the style of an old colonial shop you'll find an abundance of food, spices, sweets and wine, body care and household items here, including fresh fruits and veges and pet food by the gram. There's no separate customers' scale, instead the friendly shop owner wil take the tax weight of your boxes and jars. As you marvel at the interior you may buy a coffee or refreshment, but there's no real cafe corner. In 2021 they even startes to sell frozen organic food by the gram: samosas, falafel, French fries, veges, berries and more.

Fuellkorn

While L'Epicerie is as far as you get from the carrots-and-dungarees cliche of a traditional organic grocery of the 1970ies, the second package-free shop in the Neustadt looks exactly like a traditional Bremen organic cornerstore 2.0: The dusty shop window of Füllkorn, with some wilted potted plants makes it difficult for passers-by to even spot the place. Inside everything is spotlessly clean of course, and there's also a coffee and refreshment option. Unfortunately the shop was closed when I was there, but I'm sure it's friendly and welcoming, too. They have a milk tapping machine from the Kaemena farm.

The newest package-free shop in town is Die Füllerei in Findorff which opened in February 2020. With a beautiful flower-bed in front of it you cannot miss the shop even though I couldn't make it here during their opening hours. Unlike the two shops in the Neustadt there's a vending machine for fresh milk from the Blockland. The soap bars are produced in the very neighbourhood, by Martha's Corner, and the washable cosmetic pads and bags are made by a local plastic-free fashion label, Mamoana, with its the Oceanlovers concept store in nearby Admiralstraße. Just from the looks clearly my second favourite.

The tram stop "Am Schwarzen Meer", (in)famous for a fastfood-and-beer kiosk popular among the city's enthusiastic football fans has become a destination for conscious eaters: At the end of the Steintor road you'll find both, a Sunday-open package-free convenience store and a friendly CSA farm shop.

Selfair

The first one, Selfair, has by far the most liberal opening hours of all package-free supermarkets I've visited so far. It's a pleasant combination of a traditional organic cornershop, a contemporary package-free supermarket and an immigrant shop with a good selection of oriental-style bread, baklava, pickles and mezze. The latter aren't organic, nor are about 3/4 of the fresh fruit and greens. However, there's an abundance of loose-weight and pre-packaged organic food items, spices, sweets, beverages and more. There's tinned food and preserved food and dairy products in glasses, and almost all beverages come in returnable bottles. They also have a section with zero-waste household items and sustainable toiletries, and in general the shop is free from plastic foil packaging. Many of the organic veges, bread and cheeses are bio-dynamic and local, and most of the conventional food is produced in the region, with little agrochemicals.

Solawi-Hofladen

On the Northern side of the tram tracks you'll find a small and inviting farm shop, the Solawi-Hofladen. Despite the name it's not only a pick-up point for the members of the community-supported organic Sophienhof farm, but a cosy farm shop run by two bio-dynamic farms, the Sophienhof and the Lütjenhof, and an artisanal fair-trade coffee roasters', all from the greater region. Needless to say that you can have a coffee after having filled local grains and pulses from gravity bins and bought meat, eggs, cheese, veges and more.

Package-free sale of bakery items and cheeses over the counter, loose fruit and veges as well as dairy products and drinks in returnable bottles and glasses are of course the norm in all traditional organic convenience stores like the city's oldest organic grocery Kraut und Rüben ("cabbage and roots") in the Ostertor neighbourhood, the co-operative Oecotop in the Neustadt or the Kornkraft supermarket in Habenhausen with its day cafe which is part of a small local supermarket chain.

Abakus

Traditional co-operatively driven convenience stores in Bremen are all open to the general public by now, and so is Abakus in Steintor founded in 1998 which in 2020 repeatedly was voted one of Germany's best organic groceries. The shop which doesn't hide its political views doesn't have a working web site, but sells loose-weight grains and cereals. When I was there again in summer 2020 there was however an information that they wouldn't order more muesli unless the demand by members of the co-operative was bound to increase.

Specialist shops for body care

Founded 20 years later in Findorff Martha’s Corner is a heaven for body care addicts – which since 2022 is located in Walle. Don't be mistaken, the owner and mastermind isn't Martha, but Claudia, offering hand-made natural soaps, solid shampoos, deodorants, body and lip butters and more, made here on premise. Bring back the deodorant and cream jars for refill and keep in mind that the shop is closed on production days.

Der Fährmann Antony

During the nice season Der Fährmann Antony ("Antony the ferryman") sells hand-made natural shea and cocoa butter from Ghana on a mobile booth on the Kaemena farm in Blockland. Come with your own jar, and he will happily fill it for you. The opening hours below should however be taken with a grain of salt – when the weather is too cloudy or even rainy Anthony may decide that the effort of his bicycle tour out into the Blockland wouldn't match his sales expectation. In summer 2022 there were also shortcomings as deliveries from Ghana took weeks longer than usual, and during our stay in August 2022 we met him not before 4 pm.

Out of Bremen

If you take a bicycle tour to Lilienthal (which – despite the fact that the Bremen tram no. 4 ends there – isn't a part of Bremen, but a municipality in the adjacent state of Lower Saxony) you have even more options – check out the Lilienthal post.

Closed

2022-08-05 19:30:00 [Bremen, organic, lunch, coffee, cafe, grocery, supermarkets, vegan, vegetarian, zero_waste, unverpackt, bodycare, gifts, butcher, fashion, solawi, CSA] Link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author: E-mail · Mastodon · Vero · Ello.

Wednesday, 03 August 2022

Organic Hof (Saale)

With the word Hof meaning "farm" in German it is a tough job to search the web for organic places in this nice medieval town in Franconia. To many the name of the city may be known as the first West-German train station on a train ride crossing the border between the two former German states, the GDR and the FRG, but in fact the city dates back to around 1230. Extra state fonds for being a frontier town are a thing of the past, but the town still has a philharmonic orchestra, a theatre and a noteworthy film festival. It's frequently reachable by regional trains (e.g. two hours from Nuremberg or 2.5 hours from Leipzig or Dresden) and has a beautiful station building. The city is also a nice stop when you take the Saale-Radweg bicycle route, if only to get a glimpse of an archetypal West-German city of the 1990ies.

Voll gut

Daily necessities

Located between the main train station and the centre of the old town you will find Voll gut, a traditional owner-run organic supermarket. Pick a tomato or other small vegetable, choose some cheese and a roll, and the friendly shop keeper will prepare a sandwich for you, to take away or to eat at the sole coffee table with an organic coffee drink or tea. There's no dedicated zero waste corner with gravity bins, but you will find a decent selection of dry food in deposit glasses as well as dairy products, plant-based milk alternatives and beverages in returnable glasses and bottles. Some cottage cheeses and preserved meat spread come in glasses which you can return without a deposit.

Hof isn't far from Töpen, the homebase of one of Germany's major organic wholesale traders, Dennree, and hence the city's branch of the affiliated Biomarkt supermarkets, the Biomarkt Speisekammer in the neighbourhood of Alsenberg (south of the main train station) may count as a local organic supplier. The shop emerged from a smaller traditional organic shop in Ludwigstraße.

Of course, there's also a traditional health-food shop in the pedestrian area of the inner city, the Reformhaus "Gesund&fit". As in any other Reformhaus you'll find organic dry food and sweets, dairy products and vegetarian alternatives, bakery products, herbs and spices, tea and beverages, canned food and preserves, natural bodycare and sustainable cleaning agents, but only about half of it is organically certified, so check labels if unsure.

Sweets, chocolates, tea and more

If you like tea for real you should better pay a visit to one of the city's tea specialist shops. Tea 4 You near Lorenzkirche offers a decent selection of organic green, black and herbal teas. Bring your own tea boxes or jars to avoid waste.

More organic tea as well as organic seeds can be found at the Alraune tea shop in the Westend neighbourhood. The shop moved recently, so do not be surprised if you find it listed under its old address on the opposite side of traffic-heavy Marienstraße, in number 52.

If you have a sweet tooth pay a visit to the Feinzeugs confectioner's store in the old town. It's not dedicated organic, but there's a decent selection of organic sweets, cookies, olives, oil and other delicatessen. They also sell the city's official organic and fair-trade certified chocolate, the "Hofschokolade" which comes in about 4-6 different flavours.

Cafe Vetter

This chocolate is produced by the city's oldest confectioners', the Viennese style coffee house Café Vetter in the Münsterviertel, a nice neighbourhood dating from the Wilhelminian period. With its red plush chairs the cafe to the right of the attached bakery shop invites to have an organic tea or coffee drink. Unfortunately the chocolate is the only organic product made by this artisanal bakery cum confectionery. When I asked the friendly service staff whether organic ingredients would be used in their breads, cakes and rolls she regretfully denied. The place looks a bit forlorn facing the big void of a deserted gap site, but it keeps open all days, including Sundays and public holidays. The cafe (just like the Voll gut supermarket) accepts the local "currency", the Hof Geld, a voucher scheme supporting the local economy.

There's a second Café Vetter branch by the city's hospital. I don't expect more organic items in these surroundings, but hopefully not less, coffee, tea and chocolate.

Jasmin

Coffee and lunch

For partially organic, vegetarian or vegan lunch and/or an organic coffee drink with or without a piece of home-made cake head to cafe Jasmin, indoors lovingly decorated with small figures and other nick-nack. It's the place where you, in other cities, would expect to mingle with students, artists, young parents with prams and/or health-conscious office workers during their lunch break. However, just as in any other shop I managed to visit during my lunch break and on my way to the train station in the early afternoon, it was far from crowded, despite the outdoor seating and the beautiful summer weather.

Kreperia

For a 100 percent organic snack, either sweet or savory, head for Kreperia Kampschulte, a pretty much hole-in-the-wall creperie in the main pedestrian area opposite the church St. Marien. The owner is happy to have a chat, in a non-intrusive way. Hadn't I been in a rush to catch my train, I'd definitely loved to have a French-style buckwheat pancake.

Artisanal toys and gifts

Wooden toys and games, doll houses, pottery, candles, stationary, oils, honey, liqueurs and other high-quality products made by people with handicaps can be found at Invito next to Lorenzpark. Unfortunately my time only allowed for a brief glimpse at the shop.

Map of all places listed in this article

More to try

Given the name Kampschulte I'd expect the public canteen cum restaurant of the city's theatre, Kampschultes Kultur-Kantine to use at least some organic ingredients and serve a minimum of organic beverages. However, information on the web was sparse and time limited, so you're on your own to explore.

Without doubt a hundred percent organic or (when it comes to body care and household chemistry) of natural origin are the products of Violey, a leading and reliable organic webshop in Germany. They ran a nice chemist's shop in the old town, opposite the townhall (Rathaus), but when I came there in summer 2022 I came a little too late: A few weeks ago the shop closed for good, in favour of an outlet store on the premises of their warehouse which I did not have time to visit.

Closed

2022-08-03 19:00:00 [Hof, Hof_Saale, Saale-Radweg, organic, vegan, coffee, lunch, snacks, cafe, supermarkets, grocery, bodycare, zero_waste] Link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author: E-mail · Mastodon · Vero · Ello.

Monday, 01 August 2022

Lilienthal: Zero-waste

Although located in the state of Lower Saxony the municipality of Lilienthal is not only the terminal stop of Bremen's tram no.4, it's also easily reachable by bicycle from Bremen, e.g. via the car-free Jan-Reiners-Wanderweg. This beautiful bicycle route through the Hollerland (a cultural landscape created by drainage by Dutch settlers around the year 1000) was opened as early as 1970 and partially runs in lieu of the former Jan Reiners train tracks, a steam train line from Bremen to Lilienthal through the moors which was operated between 1900 and 1956.

Farm shop Dehlwes

In Lilienthal make sure to stop by the wonderful farmshop of the organic farm dairy Dehlwes with its milk vending machine. The milk is guaranteed to travel no longer that 10 kilometres on average and is processed here exclusively. Although the shop isn't decidedly zero waste (in fact all other dairy products and the meat in the fridge and freezer are pre-packaged in plastics) the friendly shop assistant will happily fill your bags with bread, rolls and pastries and your boxes and jars with cheese and meat products from the sales counter. All cattle, milk and bakery products as well as mindblowingly fresh veges, fruits and (in summer) berries come from the close region (there's a separate shelf for imported fruit and veges), and – following the nose-to-tail approach – you will also find ready-made meat and offal preparations in glass jars. Just across the street you can pay a visit to the farm's own cows and hens. There used to be a small cafe on the street, the Melkhus, which has been closed since the covid-19 pandemics started in 2020.

One supplying farm to the Dehlwes dairy is the one run by the Kaemena family which has their own 24x7 open milk vending machine.

Kerngeschaeft

New in 2021 Lilienthal also sports a spacious, light and clean package-free self-service supermarket, the Kerngeschäft (a pun with the German translation of "core business") on the premises of the former bookstore a few steps off the town's main shopping street, Klosterstraße. During the summer the only fresh veges available were potatoes, but it is not unlikely that There's everything you need of household chemicals (including dish washer tabs by the piece), products for personal hygiene, dry food and fresh dairy products (by the Kaemena farm). Some like locally produced caramels and ketchup aren't organic, clearly visible by the missing word "bio". When I was there in the summer of 2021 the friendly shop owner told me that after the summer holidays opening hours would be increased to 8-18 Mon through Saturday, and there were plans to keep open until 8 pm at least one day per week, possibly on Thursdays.

Map of all places listed in this article

2022-08-01 19:30:02 [Lilienthal, Bremen, organic, coffee, cafe, grocery, supermarkets, vegan, vegetarian, zero_waste, unverpackt, bodycare, Jan-Reiners-Weg] Link

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This work by trish is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. For commercial use contact the author: E-mail · Mastodon · Vero · Ello.