It’s always exciting for a company when they decide to branch out and add a new product to their portfolio. Yigit Gokyigit, marketing coordinator for Turkish fresh produce exporter Alanar, states that for the Turkish exporter their choice for a new product had fallen on blueberries: “We had been researching on how to expand our product portfolio and finally determined that blueberry is the right fruit to be developed. We imported our first saplings from Fall Creek Co. from the Netherlands and started our first plantation in early 2021. Alanar started blueberry growing in its own orchards as a trial. Now, we grow a total of seven varieties with hydroponic systems. We use two locations at different altitudes in order to extend the season. We’ll continue to grow the blueberries in our trial zones and plan to enlarge the area depending on the demand of the varieties during the first years.”
Last year, the first blueberries were sold commercially, on the Turkish domestic market, Gokyigit explains. “Our first commercial crop of blueberries arrived in the summer of 2022. Considering that the plantation was made in early 2021, we commercially harvested the first fruits in less than two years’ time. Last year was the first season of actual blueberry sales. We decided to present our fruits to the local market in this first year and so we provided our blueberries to the major supermarket chains of Turkey in 2022, and our customers were highly satisfied with the quality. We’re planning to mainly export the 2023 blueberry crop, and we've already received demand from our customers, especially from Europe and the Middle East.”
Erhan Memis, Agronomy and Orchards Coordinator of Alanar
Getting the right knowledge for cultivating blueberries was very important. Thankfully, the supplier of the saplings was able to assist in the orchards. But Gokyigit emphasizes that the Alanar team did extensive research before the blueberries were planted.
“We have a highly experienced orchards team, who have researched blueberry cultivation for over three years before the first sapling was planted. The company made various international visits to meet plant breeders of blueberries in order gain the most efficient information. In addition, representatives of Fall Creek, a Dutch nursery company that provided our blueberry saplings, also visited our orchards in order to examine the convenience of the orchards for the right varieties and to educate our orchards’ personnel as well. Turkey has the advantage of being such a large country with many possibilities for planting blueberries. As a result, we’re able to harvest our blueberries for almost three months, from June to August.”
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