The Kirkagac variety of melons are grown in Manisa, a city in western Turkey. They are known for their taste and long shelf life. The district produced 45 thousand tons this season. 30 thousand tons of these are hung on wooden poles to store for winter. The remaining 10 thousand tons will be consumed domestically and 5 thousand tons will be exported.
While the harvest season continues, melons that are collected are brought into storage. First they are tied with ropes and then hung on wooden poles. Producers sell these melons until February. The Kirkagac melon, a durable variety, was awarded a Geographical Indication in 2008. Since the revenue is higher, producers sell most of their products in winter months.
Emin Ozari, chairman of Kirkagac Agriculture Chamber, said that they export 5 thousand tons of melons mainly to Germany, France, the Netherlands, Greece and other countries. While melons cost 1,5 to 1,8 Turkish Lira (0,24 to 0,29 Euro) per kilo after the harvest, they cost 5 Turkish Lira (0,79 Euro) when removed from the poles in winter months.
"We treat melons with great care"
Zeycan Aydin, producer, said: "I have grown Kirkagac melons for many years. We harvest them early in the morning before the sunrise, so that they are still cold when we bring them to the storage. We treat melons with great care. First we put them on blankets and tie them with ropes and hang them on wooden poles. The reason why we hang them on wooden poles is that this procedure increases the aroma of the melon. We keep the melons at 14 to 15 celsius degrees. Later, we wait for traders to come by and buy them."