A new Slow Food Earth Market opens in Kastamonu, the city on the shores of the Black Sea in Northern Turkey
13 Jun 2023 | English
From June 17 the market will welcome visitors on every other Saturday
It is located in the Kastamonu Republic Square foot passenger zone, in the heart of the city center, between the administrative center and the historical city square. It can be reached by any public transport at the stop “Republic Square”. There are also several car parking areas around.
During the opening ceremony, which will be attended by the local Slow Food communities and some representatives of the partners and the local administration, it will be possible to taste traditional foods which can then be purchased directly at the market.
Kastamonu is an ancient centre dating back to Hittite, Roman and Byzantine times, with a very rich urban culture with centuries-old buildings and monuments. This makes it an important tourist landmark, welcoming hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. It is surrounded by a rich natural heritage of mountains and forests, but also by land that is still cultivated in a traditional way. Most of the population lives in the countryside and many people are still involved in self-production, following ancient recipes of the local cuisine. There is also a tradition of haute cuisine: its chefs were historically chosen to serve the Ottoman Sultans in Istanbul. The tradition of ‘palace cuisine’ is therefore still alive in the city.
Kastamonu is the land of ‘siyez wheat’, an ancient species that dates back 10,000 years and has survived without any change in its genetic structure. Many people visit the area specifically to buy this wheat and taste dishes made from it.
The Earth Market is a project implemented by members of the Slow Food community ‘Preserving the local food culture of Kastamonu’ with the support of the Municipality which aims to raise awareness of the value of the products of the local agricultural and gastronomic heritage by creating an alternative to existing commercial channels (the commercial markets and weekly street markets). These markets usually sell products of industrial agriculture, transported from long distances and mostly grown in greenhouses and using intensive methods. Only a few small local farmers bring their products to these markets, but since there is no control over the use of pesticides, these products cannot be assessed as healthy and safe. The Kastamonu Slow Food Earth Market intends to provide a reliable alternative for those in search of good, clean food.
There are 19 producers who founded the market, selling fruits (including the indigenous Uryani plum when in season), vegetables, the famous siyez wheat and the sourdough bread made from it, honey and medicinal herbs. Some of them will sell traditional dishes of Kastamonu cuisine, such as some popular soups, the famous rice dish with siyez wheat bulgur called ‘ekşili pilav’, different types of pasta, and sweets. Visitors will be greeted by excellent herbal teas.
Gülsen Kırbaş, Slow Food referent of Kastamonu Earth Market, recalls: “The members of the community ‘Preserving the culture of local food of Kastamonu’ had a strong will to open an Earth Market to awake awareness about the value of the local good and clean agricultural products and food products, to make local people concious about their province’s natural and agricultural assets, the rich biodiversity and to awake awereness about healthy food and nutrition”. She adds: “This is the reason why we decided that the market will also be a place for education, and we paid great attention to sustainability.”
Every market day an expert will give a short lecture about good-clean-fair food or biodiversity or healthy food preserving methods. There’ll be children’s activities related to biodiversity and good agriculture with games they’ll play together. Music will accompany. Experts will give short lectures to the women visiting the market about waste processing, compost producing and recycling. There’ll be a desk where women will demonstrate and teach how to (re)produce packaging materials, bags, or household and kitchen textile products out of used clothings or similar textile materials. The booths will be made of wood with tents made of canvas. Packaging material will be only of paper, glass or wood – and recyclable.
Partners of the Slow Food Earth Market of Kastamonu are:
- Municipality of Kastamonu
- Chamber of Agriculture of Kastamonu
- Governorship of Kastamonu
- Chamber of Commerce of Kastamonu (KATSO)
- Stock Market of Kastamonu
- Kastamonu University
- Agricultural cooperatives in Kastamonu and its close countryside
Slow Food Kastamonu (Facebook Group)
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