Having personal relationships with our farmers is really important to us, so having our own fig village, high in the mountains of Turkey is very special. We were looking for high quality figs when we found the village of Inclean more than 20 years ago. We helped them get organically certified and we’ve been buying all their organic figs ever since!
There are around 700 people who live here and almost everyone between the ages of 16 and 60 is involved in fig production in some way. It’s physical work but makes for a healthy existence – the oldest inhabitant is 108 years old! Generations of families are farmers and Celal, his son Muhammed and grandson Celal all work to produce the figs. Celal’s wife Atiye also helps out sorting the figs before they go to be washed, checked several more times over and finally packed for the UK.
Figs produced here are such high quality because of where they grow on the mountainside. The optimum altitude is between 500 – 1000 meters above sea level as this not only means the skins are thinner and the fruit more succulent, but the low humidity means more of the natural sugars are retained inside. Although village life itself has evolved over time, traditional farming methods remain unchanged for generations. The mountainous terrain means that machinery isn’t used and the figs are all harvested by hand. As you would expect from organic farming, no chemical pesticides or fertilisers are used. Instead, sugar water is hung from trees in empty bottles as a means of natural pest control and manure is distributed to each tree by foot.
Every September the figs are harvested and left to dry under the hot sun for 5-7 days. This year the weather has been ideal and the harvest has produced exceptional fruit. Try them for yourself – either as a snack or why not try one of our recipes? We’d love to know what you think!