Turkey Rivals Iran as Pomegranate Powerhouse

pomegranates-turkeyAlthough Iran holds the world title for pomegranates, runner-up Turkey is expecting a bumper crop this year that could propel it into the top spot. The Hurriyet Daily News reports that as world demand for pomegranates rises, Turkey has converted field after field of relatively unprofitable cotton over to the crowned red fruit that features prominently in the upcoming Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana), which starts Friday.

Turkey’s pomegranate exports more than doubled between 2006 and 2008; last year it sent abroad 29,000 tons.

Experts credit the expansion to the easy payout, government incentives and skyrocketing demand. Ali Ergezer, the chairman of the chamber of agriculture in the pomegranate city of Tarsus, said the future looks good:

“There is a high opportunity in the market and a very low loss risk for pomegranate producers. We have initiatives to export to more countries the pomegranate, which is good for human health, particularly in terms of cardiovascular diseases.”

Turkey isn’t the only country ramping up production. The Israeli export company Agrexco announced in August that 6,500 tons will go abroad this year, double last year’s figure. 

If you just bought a fresh pomegranate, throw the seeds into the Green Prophet salad. Otherwise, you can juice them, eat the seeds alone, or maybe even use them in a tart pastry. Shana Tova.

:: Photo from HurriyetDailyNews.com

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