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It may be just a short hop to the local supermarket, but a perusal of the fruit section often takes one on a journey around the world, what with the exotic produce just inviting curiosity. One can find, for example, sweet and juicy guavas, which seem to possess the taste of the Caribbean’s white sands and turquoise waters in each bite, or lychees with their subtle aroma as if they had come straight from an elegant Chinese banquet.
And the jackfruits, so popular in East Africa, may make you feel like you’re on safari in the Serengeti.
But there is one destination which has all those delicious tropical fruits, and not too far from the old continent’s Mediterranean Coast: the southern Turkish district of Alanya, which offers a microclimate that can host plantations from five continents.
Alanya’s farmers have been trying to convert Antalya’s resort district into a tropical fruit heaven, having increased their production of 36 mostly “exotic” fruits foreign to Turkey in the last five years.
From papayas to mangos, passifloras to pecan nuts and guavas to lychees and pineapples – produce from all over the world, including many fruits few in the country have even heard of, is now being grown in Alanya by the local farmers’ cooperative.
Alanya is also known for its production of bananas and especially avocados. Seventy percent of the avocados consumed in Turkey come from the area.
Producers are also optimistic that sales of homegrown tropical fruits, long strangers to Turkish markets, will quickly grow. “These fruits will have an economic value and we are sure that they will make our producers smile,” said the district’s agriculture department head, Mehmet Rüzgar.
He said Alanya’s microclimate permitted the cultivation of any tropical fruit conceivable, with farmers already looking to bring even newer tastes of the tropics to the southern destination’s fertile soil. Hurriyet Daily news
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