Organic Figs from Aydın Region
Abundance of healthy fibers, vitamins and minerals
On his search for figs, which were neither sulphured nor gas treated, Joseph Wilhelm travelled in 1976 to Izmir in Western Turkey. Izmir was and is the main port in Turkey for export of dried fruits and nuts.
Since this visit Rapunzel has obtained organic figs from the Aydın region. Aydın is situated in the fertile area around the river Menderes. Thanks to this mild climate, the best figs of Turkey grow here at 700 m above Sea level. The isolated location of the 520 ha agricultural area guarantees that the figs are grown naturally. 69 farmers cooperate in the Rapunzel organic fig project. Fig harvest starts in August.
The mature and semi dried figs fall down on the soil by themselves. Those figs are collected by the farmers from the ground and put on the special drying trays for drying 3-5 days. After the drying is completed, the farmers make a pre-selection at farm side concerning fruit quality and size. The pre-selected dried figs are put into the plastic boxes, which are delivered by Rapunzel and transported to Rapunzel headquarters in Izmir.
The physical quality control of the figs is done on the farm by Rapunzel Quality Control personnel. The figs are loaded on to trucks under direct control and organization of Rapunzel agriculture engineers.
Support of the organic Rapunzel fig farmers:
- Annual farmer meeting with the fig farmers in Ören
- Information regarding changes in organic regulation (Turkish and EU)
- Challenges in organic fig cultivation and possible solutions
- Suggestions concerning organic inputs
- Rapunzel requirements
- General environmental and social aspects
- Follow up and assistance to the organic farmers / farms throughout the year: monitoring and support where necessary
- Organization of regular farmer workshops (e.g. concerning compost or Demeter preparations applications etc.)
- Payment, preparation and assistance with the organic inspection (support of the farmers for the required paperwork)
- Distribution of organic inputs to the farmers
- Control of the storage location before a new harvest starts
- Direct purchase from the farmers without middlemen or traders in between during harvest. That involves:
- the farmers can receive pre-payment some months ahead before the harvest
- the farmers get a fair price calculation based on quality assessment of the organic figs in the field
- Distribution of Rapunzel boxes for appropriate storage and transport of the dried organic figs)
- Coordination and organization of transport
Processing of the organic figs in Ören at Rapunzel:
- Processing of exclusively 100% organic figs and other organic dried fruits and nuts for Rapunzel
- Shock freezing after arrival in Rapunzel warehouse in order to kill insects and larvae
- Storage under optimal conditions (temperature and air humidity setting and control)
- Control of every fig for aflatoxin under UV light
- Washing of the organic figs in salty water (sea salt)
- Careful hand selection and shape sorting (for special types of figs e.g. Lerida, Protoben)
- Thorough analysis program for raw material, during processing and for finished product
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