Sometimes, you turn one of life’s little corners (or round a bend in the road) and there in front of you, lined up along the wrong side of the road, are the stalls of a local organic farmers’ cooperative, crammed chock-full of the scrummiest looking stuff imaginable. A natural food-junkies’ wet dream! You sit, uncomfortably, on the horns of a dilemma – do you carry on and hope to find somewhere safe to turn around (if the past five miles are anything to go by . . hmmm) or, do you slam the anchors on and scare the crap out of the idiot who has been jammed up your exhaust pipe these past few twisting miles? Sod it! He shouldn’t be using his mobile and annoying me at the same time! Anchors it is!
a view of some of the cooperatives’ stalls
Just outside of the town of Küçükkuyu, near Ayvacık on the twisty and very busy main road to Çanakkale, there is a local village organic farmers’ cooperative. They are housed in a veritable shanty-town of wooden huts along one side of the road between two sharpish bends – a location that was no doubt perfect back in the days when donkeys and sedan chairs were the principal transport!
‘Try this one, madam’
Anyway, enough of all that – J and I picked our moment to dash across the road and then wandered along the stalls feasting our eyes and pondering out how to spread our shopping in the interests of fair trading. The choices were staggering – the area is renowned for its olive products so along with all the usual produce there was plenty of olives that had had interesting things done to them in very imaginative ways – the Karma Sutra comes to mind!
. . trust me, the figs didn’t last!
We were called on to stick our fingers into various pots to sample the quality and then felt obliged to buy because the next customer wouldn’t know where our fingers had been! In the end we settled on one particular stallholder because he offered us plastic spoons with which to sample. At least that way when we got home and found a pot that was slightly depleted we didn’t feel we had to boil it for half an hour before using!
a very happy Ali Başaran . .
. . so happy he risked life and limb to stop the traffic and see us off on our way
The value for money and the quality of everything was outstanding. We came away with 5ltr tins of extra virgin olive oil; big tins of green and black olives; olives stuffed with almonds; fresh figs so fat and juicy they melted in our mouths before we drove off; chestnut blossom honey and black mulberry jam made by the farmer’s wife and much else. Ali Başaran, I salute your skill as a farmer and as a salesman – you did good! Some of the stuff was destined as gifts but most was for us – a veritable cornucopia spilling goodness for months to come. This place is well worth a detour and one thing you can be very sure of is that it’s on our ‘to do list’ whenever we are anywhere near the area.
Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü
ps my spell-checker doesn’t like ‘had had’ up there in the text – we know it’s wrong because we could correctly have hadx3 as in ‘. . if he had had had the pudding’. Anyway, here’s a challenge with a prize of an Okçular Village book or a Book Project 100% cotton t-shirt, shipped free to any address world-wide, for the first correct answer in the comments of this post.
Q. How many times can you sensibly and correctly use consecutive ‘and’s in a sentence – no guessing you have to construct the sentence! Good luck!