Turkey - PRIMAVERA Farm Stories

The Taurus Project, not far from the impressive Taurus mountains in Anatolia, Turkey, supplies PRIMAVERA with a range of certified organic specialties including rose, myrtle and thyme.  Nuri Kalay, who now manages fifty family farms in the region and works closely with the local master distiller, Ibrahim, founded the Taurus Project in 1990 to support organic cultivation operations that rely on traditional methods.

Turkey is a premier country in rose cultivation. From the highlands of Isparta, 100 km north of the Turkish seaport city Antalya, come the famous Damask roses, grown at an altitude of 1,000 meters. The farmers who work this sparse region also grow cherries, apples and walnuts, but rose gardens provide the primary source of income.

Turkish roses are hand picked in the early morning, before they have opened and when oil content is highest. Collected into air-permeable jute bags, the picked roses are then immediately taken to the local master distiller, who extracts the precious oil; 3,500-5,000 kg of rosebuds yield just 1 kg of essential oil. In other words, thirty fresh roses are needed to produce just one single drop of rose essential oil.

Demand for organic rose is very high and often the harvest is sold out within a few months. This allows us to invite new farmers to join the cooperative every year, supporting our mission to continue helping conventional farms convert to organic practices. 

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