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The hazelnut was native to the Black Sea coast long before our era, not as a cultivated product but growing wild on trees or shrubs on the steep slopes of the mountains that are parallel to the coast for hundreds of kilometres from east to west. Historic documents reveal that hazelnuts have been grown along the Black Sea coast in northern Turkey since 300 B.C. Hazelnut farming has been the chief form of livelihood in the region for centuries-as it still is. It is estimated that more than 8 million inhabitants of Turkey depend directly upon the production, marketing or processing of this product. In Turkey, hazelnuts are cultivated in an area of about 550,000-600,000 ha. Turkey is one of the few countries in the world having a favourable climate for hazelnut production.
The production area is spread densely all along the Black Sea coast. Hazelnut orchards extend up to 30 km in land. Although the production is greatly affected by climatic conditions, as are most agricultural products, hazelnut production in Turkey is showing an upward trend.
The average annual hazelnut production during the past ten years in Turkey has been approximately 450,000 tons in-shell. Turkish hazelnuts usually ripen between early and late August depending on the altitude of the orchard and climatic conditions. Hazelnuts are hand-picked from the trees and dried in the sun. This is one of the reasons why they are so delicious. With its outstanding position Turkey leads the field among hazelnut producing countries. Turkey realizes almost 70 percent of the World’s hazelnut crop.

Turkey has two hazelnut producing regions:
The First Standard Region (eastern part of the Black Sea) includes the provinces of Ordu, Giresun, Trabzon, Rize and Artvin.
The Second Standard Region (middle and western part of the Black Sea area) comprises the provinces of Samsun, Sinop, Kastamonu, Bolu, Sakarya, Zonguldak and Kocaeli.
Turkish hazelnuts are classified as Giresun, Akçakoca and Levant quality.

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Additional Photos by ugur ozkan (anesugur) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2474 W: 82 N: 1948] (18789)
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