The 10th Ayvalık Harvest Days, organized by the Ayvalık Municipality, the Ayvalık Chamber of Commerce and the Ayvalık Chamber of Agriculture, gained a national identity this year. “Olive oil binds you to life” was this years slogan as organizers sought to increase its usage by drawing attention to its importance for health.
Ayvalık’s world-class olives and olive oils were presented with the aim reaching out to new markets. Increasing olive oil usage in Turkey was another purpose of the event.
By reminding people that Ayvalık isn’t just famous for its olives, but also for its history, nature and architecture, the festival put the the picturesque coastal town on center stage in an effort to promote local tourism.
In the opening ceremony, Benhan İbrahim Kantarcı, president of the Ayvalık Chamber of Commerce, mentioned that the olive is a “city tradition and a family heritage.” For the future of Ayvalık, tourism is irreplaceable and efforts like the Harvest Days must continue to move tourism values to higher levels.
After the opening ceremony, the “Thanksgiving to Olive” march started with the accompaniment of the Ayvalık Band.
Particpants had the opportunity to taste freshly pressed olive oils in the olive market where companies presented their products in stands along the Cumhuriyet Square.
Everyone was treated fresh fish — three tons of it, in fact — cooked in local olive oil, which is a tradition for the Ayvalık Harvest Days celebration.
This year’s festivities took place in the Murateli Village, and gourmets, artists, brand representatives and local and foreign journalists attended. Participants joined the event from Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Jordan.
Besides the culinary treats, there were olive picking contests, and “the olive seed” show was performed by children from around the city.
During the Harvest Days, there was an olive and olive oil- themed exhibition which was named “Derin kökler, Ortak kökler” (Deep Roots, Common Roots) by photographers from Turkey and the Lesbos island, and an exhibition of locally crafted rag dolls.
Besides the fun, there were sessions where industry representatives discussed the challenges of the sector and proposed new initiatives.