The chestnut season in Turkey has been underway for over a month now and so far everything seems like smooth sailing. There is an increasing demand from Europe, but the growers also see Canada as a potential market for the future.
This is only the second year of cultivating chestnuts for the Turkish exporter Alanar. While they are known for their pomegranates and plums, the company already sees an increasing demand when it comes to their chestnuts, Yigit Gokyigit, marketing manager for Alanar explains: “Last year we started with the chestnut production and sent them almost exclusively to Germany. It’s a new industry for us and our regular customers don’t really expect chestnuts from us, but we’re already seeing more countries start to order them from us this year, like the United Kingdom, for instance. There’s also demand locally, but naturally exporting them is more interesting for us.”
Alanar’s more than doubled their production for their second year and Yigit expects this number to increase exponentially as the years go by. Although the chestnut industry is relatively new for the company; they already see an increase in quality this year: “Last year there were some issues with the quality, which we managed to fix this season by investing in the latest technology machines. There is a risk of mold when cleaning chestnuts, but the machines we use now take away that risk completely. They clean the chestnuts, then other machines start sorting them by size. We sort them for every two centimeters, which leads to ten different sizes ranging from 26 to 36.”
“We’re heading towards the most important time of the season,” Yigit explains: “Christmas is right around the door and this is where we expect to see a spike in demand. The prices will not reflect this increase though, as we try to keep the prices stable during the season. We’ll have some competition from Italy, but we expect to be able to handle them, as our chestnuts are already better in quality and lower in price.”
“The only real challenge we have is getting the message out there to our customers that we no longer only deal in fruit, but also in chestnuts. The chestnuts market is kind of different from fruits, so it’s kind of isolated as it is now. But we’ll be able to show off our produce in Berlin, during Fruit Logistica!” Yigit concludes. You can find Alanar's stand at C-08.