Taste of Fethiye

Best practice now common practice for 15 Fethiye hotels

taste of Fethiye logo300After five years support, we’re almost ready to stand back from the Taste of Fethiye project in Turkey. The project is now on the verge of being handed over to local organisations. FETAV (Fethiye Tourism, Education, Environment and Culture Promotion) have already taken over organisation of the Taste of Fethiye Craft Fairs, and we’re busy working on agreeing responsibilities that will be handed over to local organisations who will continue to run the Taste of Fethiye brand in future.

LD6H2217The wholesalers that were involved in the project from the beginning are still working with almost all the Taste of Fethiye farmers, which is hugely important to ensure future success. We also had a great increase in involvement from hotels last year, which had a great influence on production and sales.

 

Fifteen hotels are still purchasing Taste of Fethiye produce, which tells us after all these years of hard work, purchasing local fresh fruit and vegetables from Taste of Fethiye has become a part of their day-to-day business practice.

 

So, it seems that it IS possible to integrate small, local suppliers into the mainstream tourism supply chain. Myself and Vicky are currently working on an impact assessment report for the project, and I look forward to sharing all that stats with you soon.

SemsiProfileWritten by Semsi Toprak, Programme Co-ordinator, Fethiye (Turkey)

Read more about the Taste of Fethiye project.

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Foodie for thought

Ben Peru

I recently spoke at the UNWTO’s World Summit on Gastronomy Tourism in Lima, where our Taste of Fethiye project was held up as best practice.

Taste of Fethiye is not your classic example of gastronomy tourism. Our starting point was how to link small, local farmers to the tourism supply chain. Rather than seeking to attract new “foodie” tourists, we worked within a well-established, mainstream tourism setting.

After listening to food tourism experts from around the world, it became clear that the main hallmarks and benefits of this kind of tourism are that it supports a local supply chain and creates a cultural experience between visitor and host that is hard to beat.LD6H2645

Whilst our main success in Fethiye has been proving that small suppliers can link to big tourism, the project has also done much to create new food experiences, engage customers and support cultural heritage.

For instance, as well as holding many “local food” nights in the hotels, chefs have felt inspired to offer more Turkish cuisine on their menus. We developed food-themed self-guided driving tours (booklets and app) to encourage tourists to explore the rural area and spend locally, and an excursion which visits one of the farms. A Taste of Fethiye local food and craft fair provides a focus for celebrating local enterprises and traditions.

While Taste of Fethiye may not be a typical approach to gastronomy tourism, it has delivered similar results. Thanks to the UNWTO for recognising the importance of the project – both as a Ulysses Award for Innovation finalist, and at the World Summit.

– Ben Lynam, Head of Communications

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Making waves in Fethiye

LD6H8867Earlier this year I joined the Travel Foundation, and currently manage programmes in Turkey and Cyprus…

I am particularly excited about Blue Wave, which aims to improve sustainable boating practice in the Muğla region. This part of Turkey is well known for its pristine coastline, but is experiencing increasing demand on its marinas and bays.

With a high level of engagement and support from local stakeholders – private, public and the municipalities – Blue Wave is bringing together stakeholders with the shared goal of strengthening sustainable marine practices. This will include work such as training for staff, information for tourists, sustainable action plans for bays and so on.

The project is contributing to the development of Fethiye as a sustainable tourism destination, while also building on the Taste of Fethiye project, which increased the benefits farmers gain from tourism and encouraged good farming practices.

For the upcoming season, a Blue Wave stakeholder is planning to support Taste
of Fethiye farmers by sourcing the fruit and vegetables for one of its tours from them. This can only encourage other stakeholders to follow suit.

Although strengthening sustainability can take time, local stakeholders in Fethiye are actively collaborating, sharing and implementing best practices. Could we ask for more? 

Jane Rowan, Destinations Programme OfficerJane Rowan

Florida sustainability conference gets a Taste of Fethiye

Taste of Fethiye Project coordinator Semsi Toprak Semsi Toprakrecently held a break-out session in the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference North America (ESTCNA), the first major sustainable tourism conference following the adoption of the United Nations Sustainability Goals and the outcomes of COP 21 Climate Change negotiations.

The conference was organised by The International Ecotourism Society and hosted by the University of South Florida Patel College of Global Sustainability. The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Transforming Our World Through Sustainable Solutions’.

I can’t tell you how good it was to be able to speak about the project that far from home. Seeing the interest – and even surprise – on people’s faces was worth the trip.

Semsi’s session took place within the ‘Sustainable Food’ theme and was well attended by an international group consisting of tourism professionals, travel writers, private companies and academics.

It was amazing to see the audience’s interest. One question followed another, until at last we got a nod from the moderator to end the session. Once again I was very proud to be part of this unique project, which presents an ideal example for the tourism industry.

– Semsi Toprak, Project Coordinator

> Find out more about Taste of Fethiye

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Music, food and craft in Fethiye

kaya3Our Taste of Fethiye project brings hotels and producers together to ensure tourists can enjoy fresh local food while benefiting the region’s agricultural industry. In May the project saw its largest celebration to date, with the popular biannual craft fair turning into a music festival, bringing culture and gastronomy together.

“Taste of Fethiye craft fair has become one of the most looked for attractions in Kaya Village both by the locals and visitors,”

Says Semsi Topak, from our overseas team.

“We’ve cooperated with Fethiye Promotion and Introduction Foundation (FETAV) to organize the craft fair as an event that would be also a part of 8th Fethiye Festival. Musicians including Los Vegabundos, Scott Jeffers and Ahmet Erarslan cleared the rust in the audience’s ears.”

“This year Fethiye Mayor Behcet Saatci visited the craft fair with his deputy Mete Atay. They were very happy with the ongoing overall success of the Taste of Fethiye project and called for a meeting to talk about the future and sustainability of the project in more detail.”

His colleague Vicky Erdogan added:

“The weather was stunning, blue skies and warm but not too hot and the stallholders enjoyed the day and made good sales. We had the most stalls booked to date… 100 tables selling a range of handmade items from wood carvings, felt hats, jewelry, painted pebbles, ceramics to local food such as stuffed vine leaves and pastries.

Many stall holders asked ‘why can’t we do this every month?’.

Working in partnership with the Fethiye Festival was a good opportunity for the craft fair and I also believe added an extra dimension to the festival too… hopefully this partnership can continue each May.”

Fethiye farmers step closer to a sustainable future

taste of Fethiye logo300Since 2010, our Taste of Fethiye project in Turkey has been working to increase the benefits farmers in gain from tourism, and encourage good farming practise.

Having successfully increased produce yields, the project looked to assist farmers with the sale of produce to hoteliers, and other businesses, through a wholesaler under the ‘Taste of Fethiye’ brand. Now in it’s final year of Travel Foundation funding, project stakeholders have significantly begun to step-up activities in preparation for ownership after 2015.

Having seen the value in fresh, local produce, the wholesaler (through which the ToF produce is sold) has produced its own marketing materials for ToF branded fruit and vegetables. This includes printed materials such as letterheads and purchase agreements, and new van livery that includes the ToF logo. This is a really positive step towards self-sufficiency.

Senay Coskun, owner of the wholesaler in Fethiye

Senay Coskun, owner of the wholesaler in Fethiye

Below we hear from Senay Coskun, owner of the wholesaler…

“We have been working with the Taste of Fethiye project for 4 years and we are very happy with the progress. After all these years we feel ourselves as a big family with farmers, project manager and hoteliers. We are receiving quality products from the farmers and delivering them to hotels as fresh as possible.

We see the increasing interest from the hoteliers too. Every year we are increasing our sales with new hotel agreements. As the company owner I always thought that we are very much lacking in marketing and communication.  With the help of Taste of Fethiye project we feel that we’ve improved our communication and marketing skills. With the story behind and successful improvements through the years, this project gives us the tremendous opportunity to communicate more with our customers.

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Becoming a runner up in UWTO Ulysses Awards was fascinating and we were very proud to play a part in that. We wanted to promote the Taste of Fethiye brand more because the interest towards the project is increasing very rapidly we wanted to stress our involvement. After all as a service provider, working with this unique project is helping us to grow our business.”

The ToF project has been working with 29 farmers throughout 6 villages, who are now supplying produce (via the wholesaler) to hotels and businesses throughout the Fethiye region. To read more on this project, click here.

On your marks, get set, COOK!

Taste of Fethiye cookery contest

Photo credit: Jane Atakay

The twice-yearly Taste of Fethiye craft and food fair is always popular, but this time it was spiced up with a Masterchef-style cookery contest.

The spirit of competition was running high, with contestants including housewives, students from vocational and tourism schools, and local villagers.

The competition was held in three categories which were Home Meals, Bakery and Sweets, and it was judged by Chef Mavi, of the Fethiye Professional Chefs’ Association. Rainbow kebab, sea food with artichokes, and traditional Gözleme were among the winning dishes.

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Photo credit: Jane Atakay

It was a lovely and colourful day in Kaya Village, a popular location for tourists, in which Taste of Fethiye has been holding craft fairs for the last three years. As well as being an enjoyable day for all involved, the contest helped to celebrate the destination’s delicious locally-grown produce.

Find out more about Taste of Fethiye

 

In search of the perfect tomato

Tomatos in 'Taste of Fethiye'Finding the most suitable varieties of produce for farmers to grow for our “Taste of Fethiye” project is really important. It’s not just about the tastiest, juiciest or best looking (although that’s all important!). We also want to increase yields for farmers and reduce the need for pesticides and soil improvers.

There are hundreds of varieties of tomato, which we narrow down to about 3-5 for each individual farmer to try out. In total we trial about 40 varieties every year with our farmers to find the perfect seedlings for their growing conditions.

himmet and hasan uysalThis year we think we’ve come to end of that exploration for Hasan Uysal from Arpacik village. Hasan says:

“Following the trials of the past three years we have found the most suitable tomato variety for our greenhouse.  This is the first time that anyone has ever planted this variety in our village, my neighbours are also coming to see the progress and we are very impressed with the yield.”

Bee innovation at Taste of Fethiye farms

Bee on tomato flower-crop-landscape

Semsi Toprak reports from our Taste of Fethiye project in Turkey…

Farmers sometimes use bees for fertilizing the plants in their greenhouses. The bees are introduced artificially from hives that consist of boxes that can be moved from place to place according to where you need them.

Farmers on the Taste of Fethiye project were using imported bees from Holland or Israel to do this job until several years ago when some entrepreneurs established bee breeding facilities in Antalya. These bees are a particular species that are specifically bred to aid tomato production inside greenhouses.

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Taste of Fethiye agricultural adviser Himmet Inan

Bees work for about two to three months inside a greenhouse and then the colony has a resting period.

Taste of Fethiye agricultural adviser Himmet Inan usually advises farmers to use at least one hive per greenhouse, but this year two neighbouring greenhouse farmers wanted to see if it would be possible to use the same hive but in different greenhouses to fertilise their tomato plants. We approved the idea to see if it could be a good way to reduce costs by sharing bees.

However, when we were carrying out our routine farm visit in order to provide advice and help to the farmers we found out that the bees were not working as we expected and were not fertilising the tomato plants as they should. Following some investigations and discussions with the farmers we finally got to the bottom of the problem. It came to light that the farmers were also using the bees to fertilise their cherry trees!

What they hadn’t realised was that if a bee starts to fertilize cherries, they don’t want to work on the tomatoes anymore because they prefer cherries! Luckily Himmet was on hand to point this out and advise that the bees were not to be let out of the greenhouse to fertilise the cherries. He added that bees in the greenhouse are actually looking for a way to get out and fly around cherries because they taste better than tomatoes. If we had not been there as part of our routine visit the farmer’s crop would have been seriously compromised.

Read more about Taste of Fethiye

View from Turkey: Taste of Fethiye farmer İllknur Arıcan

İllknur Arıcan İllknur Arıcan, a farmer from Keçiler Village in Turkey, has been involved in our Taste of Fethiye programme for the past three years.

We consider ourselves very lucky being a part of the Taste of Fethiye project. With the help of the project’s agricultural advisor we can grow better crops.

As a part of the education programme we ran trials with shading nets in a small section of our tomato farm. This showed us how to grow better quality tomatoes and how to extend our harvest season.

I also attended the craft fair that was organised in our village. We had the opportunity to sell our products directly to tourists and local visitors at the fair. We are looking forward to working with Taste of Fethiye over the next year.