In cities, foraging usually means hunting for the hippest bar or highest-rated restaurant. And while that can be fun, there is something to be said about cooking your own food when you travel. An easy way is to stop off at any farmers’ market and buy some local produce. But what if we told you that in Austria’s culinary capital Graz you can even forage for your dinner? Read on to find out how you can make your stay in Graz even more sustainable.
Please note: This article appears in paid collaboration with VisitGraz as part of the #GrazAmbassadors project. Of course, this does not affect our opinion. We report our honest experiences without obligations. The article also contains affiliate links. Learn more about them on our Disclosure page.
Edible City: How to forage in Graz
If you want to forage in Graz, there are a couple of simple rules to follow. Most importantly, do not disrespect other people’s property. Always ensure that the produce you want to harvest grows in public areas and/or is publicly accessible. Nobody will mind you picking up an apple that has fallen over the fence from their tree, but they will probably mind you climbing the fence to grab their apples.
Secondly, only take as much as you need for yourself and make sure to leave enough for the next person as well. Lastly, be gentle to the plants while you harvest and do not damage them.
While the resources we share below are “open source” and as such usually verified by several people, please note that your health is your own responsibility. Please do not consume anything unless you have verified yourself that it is edible!
Where to forage in Graz
There are plenty of places where you can forage around Graz on your own. Personally, we use two separate resources to find the best spots:
Both projects follow the same principle. They provide a map that denotes foraging spots with associative icons. In addition, each contributor usually adds a little more information around the exact location and how to access it as well as something about the kind of fruit you can find.
If you haven’t foraged before, it can be a little bit tricky to work with the map because it primarily lacks information on WHEN the produce is available. So you may want to cross-reference the map with a table of growing seasons for each fruit.
In addition, it’s a bit of a challenge to identify the right tree or bush if you’re not too familiar with plants. It’s of course easier if they carry plenty of fruit, but just make sure to keep your eyes open.
Personally, we’ve had great success finding produce in the outer districts of Graz. It’s not impossible to find something in the city center, of course, but you’re definitely not going to be the only one looking out for something edible along the river bank, for example.
“Self-harvest” fields and gardens
If you’re in a time crunch, you also have the possibility to harvest produce from some cultivated gardens and fields.
Selbsterntegarten am Steinfeld
Since spring 2017, the association “Forum Urbanes Gärtnern” has been operating a self-harvesting garden on a plot of land provided by the city of Graz on an area of approx. 1200 m², where seeds can be sown, plants planted and/or, depending on availability, harvested at any time to one’s heart’s content, anonymously and free of charge, without prior registration.
Location: Steinfeldgasse 45, 8020 Graz
Strawberry fields in Graz
Apart from the blueberry field in Weinzödl (see below), there are a couple of fields where you can pick your own strawberries. They generally open at the beginning of June and are open until all fruit has been picked (usually between the middle of June and the beginning of July). The berries are paid by the kilo.
If you want to pick your own berries, come early in the season and early during the day. Many fields have to close periodically during the week due to over-picking.
- Erdbeerfeld Friedmann, Sternäckerweg (119), 8042 Graz
- Hansi’s Erdbeerinsel Puntigam, Wagner-Jauregg-Platz 1, 8053 Graz (behind the hospital)
Blueberry field in Graz
Just north of Graz, you can find a self-harvesting field for blueberries. You can pick the berries from the 20,000 bushes which grow on the 10,000 m² areal. The field belongs to Armin Prosinger who has been in the self-harvesting business for 25 years. Besides blueberries, you can usually also find raspberries and other berries. As usual, your “bounty” is weighed when you leave and you pay by the kilo.
The field generally opens at the end of June and remains open as long as there are berries to pick (usually until the middle of August).
Location: Weinzödl 51, 8046 Graz
Guided foraging tours in Graz
In case you’re not entirely up to foraging just by yourself, you can also join guided foraging tours in Graz. More importantly, Graz has a certain treasure that you can only discover on one of those guided tours…
Guided truffle walks in Graz
Each year, Graz hosts its very own truffle festival. And while you might think it only serves as an exhibition of the finest international truffles, you may be surprised to hear that you can also find locally grown truffles at the market. Indeed, truffles do grow in the woods around Graz!
It’s important to know that individuals are NOT allowed to hunt for truffles in Graz. If you would like to see what it’s like, though, you can join a guided truffle walk in the autumn. They are organized by Waldschule Graz and last about 3 hours.
First, you get to know a little bit about the 10 locally grown varieties of truffles before meeting the true stars of the day: the truffle hounds! After all, the human nose cannot detect truffles underground. During our tour with Marion Weissenbrunner, we had the pleasure of working with her dogs Waquny and Riva.
From Waldschule, you make your way into the forest, always keeping a close eye on the hounds. They only need 8 truffle molecules to be present in order to sniff out a truffle – and they are never wrong!
Chances are high that you will find burgundy truffles which is the kind that usually springs to mind when you think of the specialty.
It is recommended that you wear good (hiking) shoes for the truffle walk as the forest ground can be muddy and slippery in November. The walks also take place during any weather which means you might want to bring a rain jacket.
Try to book one of the earlier truffle walks as the chances of finding truffles are higher!
Guided herb picking walks in Graz
If you are curious about which herbs you can pick in Graz and would like to learn more about their history and cultural significance, you should definitely check out the guided herb-picking tours by Michael Flechl.
Their most popular tours highlight wild herbs and other produce grown in the city center, on Schlossberg, or along the Mur promenade. However, you can also join a tour around Florianiberg in the south of Graz.