Two greats from Munich that have worked together for twenty years: The Oktoberfest, the biggest national celebration in the world, and Früchte Feldbrach, one of the largest vegetable suppliers of urban markets, work together at the Theresienwiese, a large market place in Munich. This autumn, they once again transformed the fairground into a hotspot for delicious food, culture and pleasure. The location manager of the market in Sendling spoke to managing director Christian Kieslinger about the fortnight of festivities.
Although the company was still in its early days, Früchte Feldbrach contacted the German feast of all feasts: the Oktoberfest. Since then, the yearly tradition has grown along with the company. The company's supply chain has expanded to the Chiemsee, the number of employees has risen to over 70 - and it has actively supplied their daily customers, such as the Roiderer family's hotel near the wildlife park and the hacker-marquee, as well as the Oktoberfest. Every day early in the morning, a Feldbrach-truck drives over the grounds of the Oktoberfest, stops at large tents and small booths and delivers fresh fruit and vegetables. The Oktoberfest hosts then turn these into nice decorations, lunch plates and chocolate snacks.The fresh fruits and vegetables from Feldrach deliveries are transformed into these treats.
Managing director of Feldbrach, fruit and vegetable expert and Oktoberfest enthusiast Christian Kieslinger about the Oktoberfest, the company and the wholesale:
Mister Kieslinger, the Oktoberfest is the high season in Munich. Do you and your employees notice the chaos or is it just like any other time of the year?
"The Oktoberfest does not give us more stress. Due to the direct vicinity of the market at the Theresienwiese, delivery routes are short and that is very practical. Early in the morning, we send a driver to the Oktoberfest who delivers everything in two to three hours. This does not require any extra effort. The only thing that brings us slightly out of our usual rhythm during the two weeks of the Oktoberfest are the deliveries on Sunday. Normally, we don't work on Sundays during the day, but only at the beginning of the night shift that starts at 10 in the evening. The Oktoberfest is an exception because then we also have to start early in the evening on Sunday.
Christian Kieslinger, managing director of Früchte-Feldbrach - Photo: Grossmarkt Sendling
What is the biggest challenge of the Oktoberfest?
"Every year, it is always a challenge to estimate the products for Saturday and Sunday on Friday. We purchase before the weekend and have to estimate how much our clients will order during those two days. The weather is an important factor here. When rain and eight degrees (Celsius) have been predicted, less products are ordered than during sunny days. To keep the weather in mind and to estimate accordingly is difficult, especially because the products for our Oktoberfest clients must be good enough. Because of the safety requirements, we can only deliver until nine in the morning and repeat orders are impossible. Therefore, we have to choose the right quantity of the right quality early in the morning."
What is so special about the Oktoberfest to you - as a businessman and a person?
"As a businessman as well as a person, I think: The Oktoberfest is an institution. It belongs to Munich just like the market halls in Sendling. The great thing is that everybody knows the Oktoberfest, wherever they are from. That is also why it is so important for our vegetable company to be a part of it every year. Not because it is the highlight of the year for our business - but because it is an honour to supply the Oktoberfest as an important part of Munich."
What is the bestselling vegetable during the Oktoberfest?
"Very traditionally Bavarian: radishes. During the fourteen days of the Oktoberfest, we use almost 40 percent more than in a normal week."
You have many more clients, such as hotels, caterers and canteens. Are there any Oktoberfest-trends with these clients as well?
"Our other clients adapt their menus to the Oktoberfest. From hotels to large canteens, traditional Bavarian dishes such as potato salad and coleslaw and sandwiches are on the menus."
You will celebrate the company's 20 year anniversary in a month's time. What are you especially proud of after all those years?
"Of our many loyal employees. Some started out in our warehouse over ten years ago and have in the meantime been promoted to leading positions. It is nice to see how our employees grow together with our company. This and that many have stayed loyal for so long also shows us that the working environment is good. The urban markets are a challenging workplace: Getting up early, working in cold storage rooms and handling stressful and quick deliveries. It makes us very happy that we are able to keep our employees with us under these circumstances. That is why we will celebrate our anniversary at the end of the year with all our employees."What are your wishes for the future of the market in Munich?
"That there will finally be clarity about the new building project. For several years, we have been in this static situation with lots of talks and lots of plans. However, nothing has been done. For many traders at the market it is very exhausting that nothing is being done and this comes with a lot of insecurity. Some have already abandoned their booths and others will probably do so as well if there is no clear announcement soon. The large markets are already global and diverse. In a small place, even when the place seems large - the most diverse people come together. That will stay the same."