Turkey is a region blessed with rich nature and bountiful resources and in the autumn once the tourism has come to an end you will find the natural splendor of the olive harvest season.
The olive tree has a long history, dating back 40,000 years. The importance of olives and olive oil in Turkey started in the 11th century with the settlement of Anatolia.
The original Turkish cuisine emerged as a result of the combined use of olive oil and their traditional butter. Ottomans continued the production of olive oil in presses, or mills.
Once the olive harvesting has started you will see people under olive trees everywhere!
It is not uncommon if you are travelling around or are an ex-pat residing in Turkey during the harvest season to be asked if you would like to help. It truly is a beautiful sight to see, everyone gets involved to collect the olives using all kinds of methods.
Once the olives have been harvested, they will either be taken to the mill to be pressed into olive oil or left to be pickled.
Turkey is the second largest producer of olive oil in the world and once you have tasted a high-quality Turkish olive oil, your life will never be the same!
Below are a few common varieties you will find in Turkey
CELEBI–originating from the Lake Iznik area, Celebi olives are small fruits destined for the table.
DOMAT-Found throughout the Aegean region, Domat olives are larger and therefore considered the best green olives for stuffing.
GEMLIK-is widely produced due to the hardiness of theplant and its fruit. Gemlik olives have a high oil content, shiny black skin and a depth of taste and texture that makes them delicious for both the table and olive oil production.
MEMECIK-Also found throughout the Aegean region, green memecik olives are mid-sized olives with a slightly oval shape. It offers a rich taste due to its high oil content.
MEMELI-Grown largely in Izmir, Memeli olives are used as green olives typically preserved in brine, split green olives and black olives.
Like wine, the best way to appreciate Turkish olives and olive oil is to taste it and i can guarantee you will not be disappointed.