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Organic Sultanas and Raisins from Aegean Region
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Organic Sultanas and Raisins from Aegean Region

Concentrated sweetness

In Western Turkey, close to Izmir, the regions Salihili and Manisa are famous for their typical Mediterranean climate (located approx. 125 m above Sea Level). This is where the organic sultanas and raisins come from. The first organic sultana project of Rapunzel started in 1989 in Salihli. The first organic village project in Turkey was also established in Tekelioğlu village by Rapunzel. The idea was to convince neighboring farmers to convert to organic farming in order to avoid contamination risks.

Today the majority of the sultana farmers in Tekelioğlu is certified organic. Now various organic projects take place in Salihli & Manisa plains and mountains. Around 100 farmer families cultivate organic grapes for Rapunzel on an area of more than 500 ha, among other products. Sultana harvest starts in August and the fruit is picked by hand from the vines. After harvest, sultanas are laid on special sackclothes on the ground and dried under the sun for around one week (raisins are dried between 10-15 days).

After drying, sultanas are put into Rapunzel plastic boxes which are delivered and transported to the Rapunzel headquarters in Izmir.

Support of the organic Rapunzel sultana farmers:

  • Annual farmer meeting with the sultana farmers in Ören with diverse information concerning:
    - Information regarding changes in organic regulation (Turkish and EU)
    - Challenges in organic sultana cultivation and possible solutions
    - Farming advice concerning organic inputs
    - Rapunzel requirements
    - General environmental and social aspects
  • Follow up and assistance to the organic farmers throughout the year: monitoring and support where necessary (e.g. trap control performed by Rapunzel staff)
  • Cooperation with universities and international experts to develop new organic solutions for problems in cultivation (e.g. farmer workshops with external consultants)
  • Organization of regular farmer workshops (e.g. concerning Demeter preparations application or compost etc.)
  • Payment, preparation and assistance organic inspection (support of the farmers for required paperwork)
  • Distribution of organic inputs to the farmers
  • Control of drying places
  • Distribution of Rapunzel boxes for appropriate storage and transport of dried sultanas
  • Direct purchase from the farmers without middlemen or traders in between. During harvest:
    - Farmers can receive pre-payment some months before the harvest if required
    - Rapunzel stores the organic raw material in its warehouses following the harvest

Processing of the organic sultanas and raisins in Ören at Rapunzel:

  • Processing of exclusively 100% organic sultanas in Rapunzel
  • Storage under optimal conditions (temperature and air humidity setting and control)
  • Modern processing facilities
  • Careful hand selection at the end of the process
  • Thorough analysis program for raw material, during processing and for finished product

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