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Between algae bread and Harz barbecue

The smell of sausages hangs in the air in Hall 23b, no matter which corner you stand in. "It's just part of Saxony-Anhalt," says Michael Kümritz of the state's agricultural marketing association. "People like to celebrate, eat and drink here, and many people in our region say, 'We can't do without meat.' But at the same time, there is great innovation with new ideas for the food industry. I think it's great that we are representing both here in this hall."

Tourism, research, culinary arts

Thus, a curious mixture of hearty festival classics such as bratwurst, beer and schnapps on the one hand, experimental samples such as algae bread on the other, and in between delicacies such as the finest chocolates, made in Tangermünde, Baumkuchen or pistachio nougat, can be seen in the Länderhalle. The tourist regions advertise Altmark, Harz and Börde. And what is easily forgotten: wine also grows in Saxony-Anhalt. The Kloster Pforta state winery serves wines from the Saale-Unstrut region.

Hemp nuts from the foot of the Brocken mountain

What has also recently been growing on a larger scale in Saxony-Anhalt is hemp. "Produced at the foot of the Brocken," emphasizes Ronny Sievers, CEO of Hemp Germany, which several smaller companies in the region joined forces to form in December. "Hemp is the future. It's actually an old plant that has long been forgotten and that we want to get out of the muckraking corner."

Sievers lists many benefits: Hemp is rich in omega3 oils and vitamins, is easy to grow, is undemanding, draws little water and can be processed whole - even as a building material. At the Hemp Germany booth, visitors can sample freshly pressed hemp oil and crunchy roasted hemp nuts. Hemp tea as a soothing drink in the evening or a small linnet liqueur.

Sponge cake with black sesame

Past Altmark juniper, venison or red wine salami and Harz barbecue, the state's universities have set up a long "science booth." Students serve appetizers and keep the public guessing: I wonder what's in that red sponge cake? Red bean paste. And in the black cake? Black sesame seeds. One is a so-called legume, the other an oilseed, and both are popular foods in China. There are also buns with pea flour and green algae bread. All of this was developed by students, often in cooperation with long-established companies.

"By using legumes like peas, we can promote biodiversity because then it's not just wheat or rapeseed growing in the fields," explains Elena Kashtanova, a professor at Anhalt University of Applied Sciences who teaches international trade in agribusiness. "But if we demand more biodiversity, then we as consumers have to buy it, and for that it has to taste good." She has no concerns that this will work: "I'm always amazed at what the students develop. That's going to be our future."

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