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Turkish Producers Keep Up Momentum After Strong Results at 2018 NYIOOC

Producers are optimistic about the future of Turkish olive oils after record-breaking wins at the 2018 NYIOOC.

Award-winning olive oils from Turkey
Aug. 7, 2018
By Daniel Dawson
Award-winning olive oils from Turkey

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Among the many sur­prises at this year’s NYIOOC World Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion was the record-break­ing year enjoyed by Turk­ish olive oil pro­duc­ers.

Even though there is a lot going on with the poli­cies of the gov­ern­ment, we are still very opti­mistic about car­ry­ing Turk­ish olive oils where it deserves to be in the world.- Merve Doran, Oleamea

Turk­ish pro­duc­ers set records for entries sub­mit­ted and awards. In fact, in 2018 Turk­ish pro­duc­ers received as many awards (12) as they did in the pre­vi­ous four edi­tions of the com­pe­ti­tion com­bined.

Their suc­cess rate of 44 per­cent this year was also more than dou­ble their next best, which was achieved in 2015.

Turk­ish olive oil has such a great poten­tial that is still untapped in most of the regions,” Merve Doran, co-owner of Oleamea, told Olive Oil Times.

Oleamea was among the win­ners at this year’s edi­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion, bring­ing home a Gold Award for their organic Gök­bel and a Sil­ver for their organic Sogukoluk, both of which are medium Meme­ciks.
See more: The Best Olive Oils from Turkey

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We were thrilled know­ing that all of our hard work and ded­i­ca­tion paid off for both of our prod­ucts,” Merve said about this year’s win. Oleamea pre­vi­ously won a Gold and Sil­ver for non-organic oils in 2016.

It is just great when you are awarded for your efforts,” he added. We worked really hard to deliver a great prod­uct for our cus­tomers.”

Hilmi Yildrim Olive Oil was also among the win­ning pro­duc­ers at the 2018 NYIOOC. In their first year at the com­pe­ti­tion, the fam­ily-owned busi­ness brought home a Gold for their del­i­cate Meme­cik. It was the only oil they sub­mit­ted.

We, as the fifth gen­er­a­tion, have taken the baton from our ances­tors and are always try­ing to move it for­wards,” Bozok Alabay told Olive Oil Times. It is our honor and inspi­ra­tion to be awarded at this inter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion for our efforts.”

Yavuz Arkan accepted the Gold Award for Hermus Olive Oil at the 2018 NYIOOC

He touted the health ben­e­fits as well as the taste as the rea­sons why his del­i­cate Meme­cik was able to stand out for the judg­ing panel. The native Turk­ish vari­ety is rich in polyphe­nols and, when har­vested quickly and del­i­cately, this max­i­mizes their con­cen­tra­tion in the result­ing oil

We do not use chem­i­cals in our Meme­cik type olive trees, while olives are green we har­vest by hand,” Alabay said. The Meme­cik vari­etals are picked and within four hours, at 20 degrees, the olive oil is obtained by pro­cess­ing in a con­tin­u­ous sys­tem olive oil machine.”

Alabay said that Hilmi Yildrim Olive Oil plans to enter the com­pe­ti­tion again next year with two olive oils. He also hopes for a 100 per­cent suc­cess rate for the sec­ond straight year.

Out­side of the 2018 NYIOOC, Turk­ish olive oil have also picked up awards in Italy, China and Japan. Many in the indus­try believe this could be the begin­ning of a brighter era for the sec­tor.

Turkey’s branded olive oil exports tend to be on the rise,” Atilla Totos, a man­ag­ing board mem­ber of Turk­ish olive oil com­pany, Zeytin Dostu Asso­ci­a­tion, told Chi­nese state media after an award com­pe­ti­tion there. Turkey is one of the fastest-devel­op­ing high-qual­ity olive oil mar­kets in the world.”

Last year, Turkey pro­duced 287,000 tons of olive oil, mak­ing it the fourth largest pro­ducer behind Spain, Italy and Greece. Turkey also ranked fourth in olive oil exports with 90,000 tons sent to for­eign des­ti­na­tions last year.

Accord­ing to Totos, quan­tity should con­tinue to increase. He opti­misti­cally expects Turkey to pro­duce about 650,000 tons by the end of the next decade. How­ever, he main­tained that while quan­tity is impor­tant, qual­ity is now becom­ing the main goal of Turk­ish pro­duc­ers.

In order to achieve these lofty goals, indi­vid­ual pro­duc­ers will have to face short-term chal­lenges. Doran, of Oleamea said that he expects the com­ing year’s har­vest to decrease due to high sum­mer tem­per­a­tures and hot, dry weather con­di­tions. Deval­u­a­tion of the Turk­ish lira, caused by var­i­ous geopo­lit­i­cal issues out­side of the olive oil sector’s con­trol, has also hurt exporters.

In spite of these set­backs, Doran is still opti­mistic about next year’s NYIOOC, which he plans to enter.

Our plan is to enter each year with bet­ter prod­ucts. With our local part­ners, we are con­stantly search­ing for new lands to bring dif­fer­ent aro­mas to our olive oil,” he said. Even though there is a lot going on with the poli­cies of the gov­ern­ment, we are still very opti­mistic about car­ry­ing Turk­ish olive oils where it deserves to be in the world.”





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