On my recent trip to Turkey I found two interesting facts that I wanted to share with all of you.
First is that Turkey is the largest producer of Hazelnuts - they produce 75% of the worlds hazelnuts!
The hazelnut was native to the Black Sea coast long before our era, not as a cultivated product but growing wild on trees or shrubs on the steep slopes of the mountains that are parallel to the coast for hundreds of kilometres from east to west. Historic documents reveal that hazelnuts have been grown along the Black Sea coast in northern Turkey since 300 B.C. Hazelnut farming has been the chief form of livelihood in the region for centuries-as it still is. It is estimated that more than 8 million inhabitants of Turkey depend directly upon the production, marketing or processing of this product. In Turkey, hazelnuts are cultivated in an area of about 550,000-600,000 ha. Turkey is one of the few countries in the world having a favourable climate for hazelnut production.The production area is spread densely all along the Black Sea coast. Hazelnut orchards extend up to 30 km in land. Although the production is greatly affected by climatic conditions, as are most agricultural products, hazelnut production in Turkey is showing an upward trend.
Read more here : Hazelnut Productions
The second remarkable thing is that for the whole country of Turkey there is only one area that produces all of their tea. First of all you should probably know that drinking tea in Turkey is very popular (Çay - which is tea in Turkish) and is drunk socially as well as after almost all meals! So you can probably understand the enormous amount that a country of over 70 million people would drink, but the amazing fact is that it all comes from just one region - the Black Sea.
The production of tea in Turkey mainly started in the early years of the Republic along the eastern Black Sea Region. Many of the tea plantations are centered around the town of Rize, and from the Georgian border to Trabzon, Arakli, Rize, Karadere and Fatsa (near Ordu), reaching in some places 30 kilometers inland and reaching the height of around 1000 m. In 1947 the first tea factory was built in Rize
Turkish tea is full-flavored and too strong to be served in large cups thus it's always offered in little tulip-shaped glasses which you have to hold by the rim to save your fingertips from burning because it's served boiling hot. You can add sugar in it but no milk, and you can have it either lighter (weaker) or darker (stronger) depending on your taste because Turkish tea is made by pouring some very strong tea into the glass, then cutting it with water to the desired strength
Read more about Turkish Tea
I had my fill of Turkish tea while there - and I was happy to go back to my coffee drinking - but from time to time my husband and I will drink Turkish tea, it feels like we're back there and that is a nice memory!