Everywhere you look in Turkey, whether you are in a major city such as Istanbul, a lone dirt road in the middle of the country, or a village along the seaside, you can be sure that you will come across a farmer and his wares. These men and women, at times alone or with their entire family, bring to sell what crops they have gathered earlier that morning. Their produce is guaranteed fresh, sun-ripened, naturally delicious and 100% Organic. There is no mistaking its natural state, free of pesticides and preservatives. Because if this, the producesí life is short-lived compared to the produce we are all too familiar with in the store bought variety in the US that is not labeled "Organic". These farmed-raised Turkish fruits and vegetables are best eaten the same day or so. It is normal to head out to the street corner, in the middle of my Istanbul neighborhood to make my daily "produce run".
There are fruits and veggies that I donít even bother to purchase when I am back in the States because a) the flavor does not compare, b) the price is exorbitant on organic produce. The climate in Turkey during the summer months is mostly dry and hot and this is prime for a variety of produce: tree-ripened figs (incir) that are seemingly filled with honey and dripping with flesh, peaches (seftali) as big as grapefruits that drizzle with the sweetest juice and apricots (kayisi) that are sweet like candy. The melons (kavun) of all varieties are bursting with flavors that I have not tasted anywhere else. The tomatoes (domates) are indescribable. The artichokes, so big and plentiful. You can even eat the small-sized cucumbers (salatalik) as is, with no peeling or slicing and they actually have a flavor, which I can not say for the ones I buy here. All of this said, the nicest thing about buying produce (organik yemek ve sarap in Turkey is that I donít have to think twice about its freshness or what kind of pesticides or chemicals they have been treated with. This process is unheard of with the local farmers who provide much of the country with its crops.
Even in the network of streets and hills of Istanbul, you can be sure to find a "pazar" or open-air market, with vendors selling wares, of clothing, kitchen supplies, perfume, handiwork and of course, a large section of locally-grown fresh fruits, vegetables, olives and cheese- all hand-grown, hand-picked and hand made in the outskirts of the city. Even the displays of their produce are meticulous. Everything is made to look enticing and once you have one taste, you will be sold. In Istanbul, the biggest and best of these organic bounties are in Ulus (Ulus Pazari on the European side, near Etiler), and Moda Pazar (on the Asian side).
Turks have always relied on natural and local produce in their daily lives so I was curious to know if Turkish wines are organic (organik sarap - Organik meyve sebze). Organic wine, which essentially contains grapes that are not treated with chemical fertilizers, pesticides, additives of any kind or sulfites (the stuff that gives you a nasty headache when you have drunk too much of the stuff). Well, I have yet to find out if this is the case (please contact me if you have any info on the topic), but I am happy to hear that Kavist.com Istanbulís newest wine & spirits shop, wine bar (sarap evi) and wine tasting locale, carries a section of organic wines organik sarap, kosher wines, non alcoholic wine and beer (alkolsuz sarap and alkolsuz bira) kosher sarap. Wine house in Istanbul. Wine Shop in istanbul. Wine store in Istanbul Turkey.