The Turkish cherry season has begun for the early varieties, but it’s expected that next week the Napoleon variety will kick off as well. Due to rain just before the harvest, the start of the Napoleon variety could be delayed by two or three days. One exporter isn’t worried about being able to sell all his produce, as the local demand is so high, that they’ll never be in trouble.
According to Muhsin Riza Agdag from Ideal Tarim, the Turkish cherry cultivation keeps growing every year, but so is local demand for cherries: “Turkey is the biggest cherry grower in the world both for total production kg (640.000 Ton) and plantation area (84.000 ha). While Turkey is the biggest grower in the world, Turkey is only the 4th biggest exporter of cherries. The difference can be explained by the very high levels of local consumption. Some ultra-sweet local varieties are included in these quantities, but these are not exported because of the shelf life and other criteria too.”
Although the season has already started, the early varieties are mostly meant for the local market, Riza explains. “We’re always looking forward to every cherry season in Turkey. Weather conditions are all good in our areas. We are expecting rain just before the harvest, which could make the first Napoleon harvest two or three days late. Early varieties have already started, but these are mostly for the local market. Some of them have been exported too, but we’re not exporting early varieties as a company rule, because of quality issues such as their shelf life and the cherries aren’t as good looking as Napoleon and Regina.”
The business is doing well, as Ideal Tarim is now getting orders ahead of the season, as their clients have enjoyed working with Ideal in the past: “Cherry production is increasing more and more in Turkey but we must say that local consumption is also really high. That is why we don’t ever expect hard times, as our cherries will always find their way to a buyer. Starting from 25th May, though, as stated earlier, it can be two to three days late, Napoleon will start and after mid-July the Regina varieties will arrive. We’ve started to get pre-orders for cherries now, as our overseas partners are looking forward to our cherries. Ideal has a strategic view in the cherry business. We serve premium markets, supermarkets and distributors with different brands. Each brand has its own quality specifications.”
Riza states that Ideal Tarim doesn’t send any second class cherries under its brands and instead focuses mostly on the premium and first class cherries: “We prepare a quality report for every shipment and send this to the customer with export documents. Everyone knows exactly what they’re getting from us. We only pack ultra-high-quality, which is premium class, and first class. There is no second class brand for our export markets. Verita is our super deluxe brand and only the most healthy, colorful and most sweet cherries can packed under this brand. I would recommend everyone trying this brand at least once! Pepita is the most common first quality brand for the Far East and India. You can find our Pepita in supermarkets, food cities and online delivery companies in Far East.”
Turkey has been in lockdown for a while to battle the coronavirus. Riza states that the country has recently lifted some of the restrictions, but the operation was never affected by the lockdown to begin with: “The complete lockdown in Turkey ended, although the weekend lockdown is still in process. We’re doing well, the lockdown did not affect the agricultural businesses, so we’ve managed to continue our import-export and production at a normal pace. Let’s hope the world will be cleared from Covid soon!” he concludes.