Yeliz Kaya started Green Ova a year ago. This Dutch company focuses on Turkish fruit and vegetable imports for the Dutch and European markets. "The first year went better than expected. Turkish cultivation is developing positively. We used this start-up year to select the best suppliers and will undoubtedly reap those benefits next season," she says.
The Bursa fig season has begun. "On August 25, the government approved exports, and the first truck left immediately."
"These figs from the Bursa region, which follow on from those from Aydin, are a hot item on the market. As soon as they're available, customers want to switch," Yeliz explains.
"We currently sell plenty of Bursa figs to European supermarkets. Prices usually start high and drop slightly as production increases."
"But you never know. If it begins raining and growers can't harvest, prices shoot up again in no time," Yeliz points out.
"We also import a few pallets of Sultana grapes every week. Our suppliers have Santa Maria pears, too, but I don't have any clients for those at present." Preparations for the winter greenhouse vegetable season are also in full swing. "The heat in Spain and other countries means a good demand for tomatoes and block peppers is expected," says Kaya.
"Mid-season California bell peppers are currently available, but because of their prices, they're not worth importing." All of Green Ova's Turkish suppliers meet European market standards including GlobalGAP, Smeta, and GRASP certification. "Our suppliers know that's a prerequisite. It's no problem, either, since Turkish cultivation's rapidly professionalizing," says the importer.
Outside of the the Netherlands, the company exports mainly directly to Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. "But we can export all over Europe. I'm amazed at the doors that are opening. For example, as soon Morocco's off the market, we export a lot of loose tomatoes to the United Kingdom. This year, we'll also be exporting to Azerbaijan and even the distant islands via air freight."
"We imported plenty of Turkish open-field vegetables, like leeks, white cabbage, and iceberg lettuce, last year, too," adds Yeliz. "I'm of Turkish descent and speak the language and by focusing entirely on Turkish fruits and vegetables, I can specialize." She had not yet done return exports to Turkey, but who knows what the future holds. "People sometimes already inquire about products like pineapple and blueberries, so we could perhaps pick that up later as well," Yeliz concludes.