Juicy figs and other fruits from Isparta, Basköy and Elbistan

Apples from Isparta

Apples for ONE NATURE organic products come from an organic farming project in Isparta near to Lake Egirdir. Due to its size, this lake is particularly important as a source of drinking water. In order to reduce environmental pollution from pesticides that are used in conventional farming, an organic cultivation project was launched in 1999 in collaboration with the Turkish government. Through “Yalvac-Egirdir”, a total area of approximately 1,300 ha was converted to organic farming and the water of Lake Egirdir became drinkable once again for the population.

500 ha of the newly created area is being used for organic apple cultivation. The apples cultivated in this area are transported to the MAVIDENIZ family-run processing facility for further processing. MAVIDENIZ has been based in Isparta since 2007, directly in the heart of the Turkish cultivation area for apples. On an operational area of 20,000 sq m, only organic products are processed in line with the latest technical standards and stored. On an operational area of 20,000 qm, only organic products are processed and stored in line with the latest technical standards. The apples are either processed into dried fruit or high quality apple juice concentrate on site, which is used in as a sweetener in some ONE NATURE organic products or is sold as ONE NATURE organic Apple Juice Concentrate in a practical dispenser bottle as an alternative to household sugar.

Figs from Basköy

In the small mountain village of Basköy, which is located approximately 85 km away from Izmir, 40 organic farmers have been carrying out organic farming on an area of 95 ha for many years. Turkish figs are cultivated there at high altitudes above 750 m for ONE NATURE organic. The climatic conditions of low precipitation and average temperatures of 18 to 21°C are optimum for ripening these aromatic fruits. At the end of August, the fully ripened figs are harvested by hand and transported to the drying areas where they are laid out on grilles to dry in the sun. After approx. five to ten days, the dried figs are hand-picked and transported to the collection point where they are checked, stored and packaged.

Apricots from Elbistan

The cultivation areas for ONE NATURE organic apricots, which have been organically farmed since the 1970s, are situated at high altitudes of the Taurus mountains in the Turkish region of Elbistan.  The apricots which have grown in the clear mountain air have a distinctive aroma. By the end of July, the fruits have ripened and are picked by hand. After a few days drying in the sun, the apricots are pitted. They are then dried in the sun for three to four days. They are packed into crates and transported to the project’s internal processing facilities where their quality is checked and they are washed and sorted.

Cherries from Turkey

The area around Konya is characterised by its organic agriculture. That’s ideal, as it means that there is no contamination from conventional farming. The village of Destigin is 1,600 metres above sea level and is therefore also protected from insects and fungi. That’s because in very cold, snowy winters of minus 30 degrees Celsius, insects are hardly able  to survive.

The bright red fruits in the cherry plantation can be seen glowing from a long way off. The cherries are cultivated in an area of 550 hectares. This produces a yield of 1,700 tonnes. Between the cherry trees, strawberries are also planted in rows.

Cherries have been cultivated here for many generations now. There has in fact always been organic farming here, the farm has been certified for twelve years now. Picking is done as a community: first the fruits are harvested from the fields of one farmer, then from the fields of the next. It is important to be careful when picking the fruit. Otherwise, the buds  of the fruit can be damaged, meaning that no fruit will grow the next year. In October, farmers look after future tree growth. Young saplings are “propped up” on the thickly rooted  lower trunk of an old tree. From the outside, the area is tightly bound, the branch and trunk grow together here. After around three years, the young cherry tree will bear fruit for  the first time. The yield of fruit increases over the course of a tree’s life to approximately 200 kg per year. The “weeds” between trees are traditionally removed with a scythe and fed to the animals of a neighbouring organic cattle farm, which in turn provides manure for the cherry trees. Planting lupins improves the soil quality due to the nitrogen they  provide. The water used to irrigate the cherry trees comes from the nearby artificial Beysehir lake. The deep blue water of the lake is surrounded by massive mountainous rocks and it consists exclusively of pure rainwater and water from melted snow.

All agricultural work is done considerately and in harmony with nature; human intervention always takes account of natural cycles. This is where tradition and modernity melt into one. This traditional agriculture which is closely bound to nature also corresponds to future-oriented organic agriculture. Farmers are supported by meetings, which are held  regularly.

The cherries are transported from Destigin to Torbali in the early hours of the morning. Here, they are processed into dried cherries or jarred cherries. The crucial factors when drying cherries are the climate, high temperatures of 38 degrees Celsius and above, and low precipitation. Since the beginning, the two-hectare farm has been expanded in  successive stages and the plans for the next expansion have already been made.

At half past five in the morning, the delivery of cherries arrives. Each delivery is firstly subject to a  strict quality check. In order to do this, ONE NATURE organic works in collaboration with laboratories who check the cherries for their microbiological values and pesticide exposure. In the  meantime, the fruits are stored at five degrees Celsius in a cold-storage room. If the cherries meet all the quality criteria, they will undergo further processing.

The cherries are washed, de-stalked, washed again, inspected and pitted. The pitting machine has 88 hollows into which the cherries slide from the conveyor belt. The pitting process takes seconds. The cherries are inspected again after this step: Have all the pits been removed? Is the quality high enough? If the cherries aren’t being jarred, the sun will  do the rest of the work in a large open air storage area. In five to six days, the cherries will lose seven eighths of their moisture. When the cherries are dried, the workers will once  again check the fruit and will remove the cherries which are not up to scratch. Finally, the cherries are packed into cardboard boxes. From that point onwards, they will keep for  around three years.

To preserve cherries in jars, the fruits are placed into glasses which have been washed at high temperatures. Their own cherry juice is then added which was previously retained at  the pitting machine stage. In a large sieve container, the closed jars are then treated with hot steam for 25 minutes to preserve them. After another quality inspection in Germany,  the cherries are then packed and labelled by ONE NATURE organic.