Anyone who’s gone food-shopping in Istanbul eventually runs into the following problem: how do you know that the cucumbers labeled as Çengelköy salatalığı really come from Çengelköy? Or that the anchovies sold at your local fish market really come from the Black Sea? There’s a similar problem when it comes to organic produce, as there is no guarantee that anything labeled “organic” has truly been grown without pesticides or fertilizers. The best solution may be to cut out the middleman and buy directly from the source...with that in mind, here are four companies offering mail-order natural/organic products, all recommended by The Guide Istanbul.
İpek Hanım Çiftliği (İpek Hanım’s Farm) is located a little outside the village of Ocaklı in Nazilli (Aydın Province in the Aegean). İpek Hanım is a committed vegetarian whose farm products, grown without any kind of hormones, pesticides, or chemical fertilizer, include a wide selection of vegetables, homemade jams, olive oils, cheeses, eggs, and more. An updated list of the Farm’s products (the availability of which changes regularly) is emailed to İpek Hanım’s customers, who then reply with their order. Orders are shipped five days a week, but can be placed at any time. Payment is upon delivery only, with no payment being accepted if orders arrive in a spoiled condition. All you need to do to enjoy İpek Hanım’s delicious produce is to send an email to [email protected] and ask to be added to the mailing list. We recommend you try the peasant bread, carrot, tarhana soup, sweet goat cheese, and anything that takes your fancy.
Ekolojik İmece (Ecological Collective) is known as the force behind the Feriköy Pazarı, Turkey’s first ecological weekly market, and currently operates three additional markets in Bakırköy (on Saturdays), Kartal (on Sundays), and Levent’s Kanyon Shopping Mall (on Fridays), as well as in Ankara and Antalya. Its popular Ekolojik Gıda Kutusu (Ecological Food Basket) offers home delivery of an array of different products including herbs and spices, every imaginable variety of seasonal fruit and vegetable, half a dozen types of honey, and cheeses made from organic goat’s milk. Organic wines, and organic personal care and beauty products, are also available. An updated product list is sent every Wednesday to web subscribers (to subscribe to the mailing list, simply send an email to [email protected]). Products shipped to your home (which generally arrive within 1-2 days) are payable on delivery, by cash or credit card, and there is no shipping charge for orders over 80 TL.
Mandalin Bahçesi, as its name implies (mandalina being the Turkish word for tangerine) specializes in citrus fruits, in addition to jujubes, apricots, plums, and avocados. The company, run by business partners Hikmet Faralyalı and Emel Rona, is located in the village of Gümüldür in İzmir Province on the Aegean Coast, and has a selection of seasonal fruit for mail-order shipping. Any fruit ordered from Mandalin Bahçesi is not picked until the order has been received. Orders placed on their website generally arrive within 1-2 days, with a minimum order of 4 kg. The company also produces fresh honey from beehives located on its farm.
Ayerya Rüzgarlı Vadi Organik Tarım Çiftliği (Ayerya Rüzgarlı Vadi Organic Agricultural Farm), located in Urla (İzmir Province on the Aegean Coast), specializes in olive products, with a good selection of organic olives (green, pink, and black) and early harvest/cold-pressed olive oils. Ayerya also sells fresh goat cheese and eggs, in addition to a wide range of seasonal fruits and vegetables, nuts, honey, flowers, and natural soaps. The Farm also sells several different kinds of poultry including chicken, turkey, peacock, and pheasant. Email subscribers receive regular mailings with a list of available products (send an email to [email protected] to be added to the mailing list). To place an order, just respond with a message specifying the products you wish to have shipped.