I could never make sense of the Winterfeldplatz market in Berlin the first time I saw it.
The Winterfeldplatz market is one of Berlin’s many beautiful weekend street markets. It sells are a variety of fresh and colourful fruits and vegetables, assortments of spices, perfumed oils, wheels of cheese and exotic Mediterranian dips. It is clean, well organized and pleasant to walk through on a Saturday morning.
Souce: Fridolin freudenfett
What didn’t make sense were the prices. Everything at the market cost was at least 2x what they cost at a supermarket nearby. In the developed world, groceries are expensive and doubling their price can leave a mark on their customers’ budget. Sure, the quality of the farm fresh produce is better at the street market, but only marginally – nothing that could warrant a 2x increase in the price. They aren’t organic either. Besides, fruits, vegetable and kitchen consumables are commodities, where price is often the only deciding factor. How then does the Winterfeldplatz and Berlin’s other street markets continue to thrive?
I am only beginning to answer that question myself.
On rare occasions, we did shop at the street market. The food we prepared was certainly tastier – the quality of the output depends on the raw materials after all. However, what stands out is how memorable it was to actually go through the market, pick out fresh produce from the sellers themselves, and purchase it from a person rather than a supermarket’s system. Also, the market in itself is an art display that is installed every Saturday morning, and being part of it brings us joy – joy that justifies the doubling of prices.
This intangible value most certainly exists. Otherwise, the Winterfeldplatz market and several of Berlin’s other weekend markets would not decorate its streets, even if for merely once a week.