If you live in Western Europe or North America, most likely you don’t give a lot of thought as to when a certain fruit or vegetable is in season. If it’s not is season in Florida, it certainly is in Costa Rica. There may be some difference in price but that’s all.
Always in season, always well lit with sounds of rain as little water spritzers turn on and keep everything moist and beautiful. There are a few things I miss about America, this is one.
Strawberries are in season here in North Cyprus at the moment. They are everywhere, at the Friday (Farmer’s) Market, the corner convince store, and the supermarket. That will not last and they will be gone in a month, if you like strawberries buy them now.
Living on a small island you learn to think about things like agriculture. What’s in season and when will your favorite fruit be available? There are a few exceptions: bananas, potatoes, onions, and leafy greens being in that category. Living in America, farms were always someplace else. You may see them - if you’re in a car on your way to someplace else.
It’s not like that in North Cyprus, in the early winter every available field gets plowed. Small grassy areas that would simply lay fallow in North America become miniature fields of grain on an island.
Living in North America, you never give much thought as to when it rains. Here in North Cyprus, everybody wants it to rain weekly during the winter. How the farmers are doing is actually a subject of conversation.
Farmers drive their tractors up and down the street at thirty kilometers an hour, cars line up in a parade behind them, passing when they can. You’ll not find the road rage because all that was left behind. Yavash, yavash.
If you have a few stamps if your Passport you know that every country has certain foods that are considered signature dishes. France has fine wines, there’s Italian pasta and American Steak, all prepared with care and known world-wide.
North Cyprus is no exception: there are two dishes of interest here: Hellim (Halloumi in Greek) Cheese and the humble potato. Both are major exports and prized foods. As an aside, Hellim is fried on the stove. I had never fried cheese before moving here but it’s served in every restaurant and sold in every supermarket.
A short time ago, the EU adopted measures to insure that Hellim/Helloumi is authentic, which is to say actually produced in Cyprus using authentic recipes. These new regulations will allow Hellim cheese produced in the North to be sold in the EU for the first time since 2004.
Of course, there are numerous other agricultural products. Interestingly, the tangerine is the second most common crop behind potatoes. Numerous other foods are produced here including some wonderful olive oils. If your interested in knowing the details of farming on the island, there is a Wikipedia article on the subject.
Recently, one thing has change the agricultural calculation in North Cyprus: the arrival of Turkish water. Water is now available for use on crops. Until recently, bore holes were the main source of fresh water and the method wasn’t environmentally friendly. Now much of the water arrives via an undersea pipeline. This has caused a huge spike in farming land prices but expanded the growing season and provided the North a food safety net.
Agriculture makes up about nine percent of the Gross Domestic Product. The service sector is the largest segment; that includes tourism and education (Universities). Around seven out of ten Lira are generated by the sector.