On Wednesday, day two of our excursion along the Aegean Coast, we stayed on the remote island of Gokceada. With a population of only 8,000, the island is small, and is filled with sheep, quaint mountain villages, and a beautiful coastline. Despite the obvious attractions of the island, a couple things go hidden to the typical tourist’s eyes. One of these things is the fact that the island is filled with organic farms and has a goal of going completely organic (in terms of their production of food) by 2015. We were fortunate and got the wonderful opportunity to tour one of the biggest ones on the island. When we first arrived, we were immediately struck by their hospitality. They set up chairs for us to sit and brought us out fresh, organic cheeses and yogurt. Even though we had just had a HUGE brunch back at the hotel, it was as if none of us had seen a scrap of food for days…it was that good. All you could hear was, “oh my gosh, if all plain yogurt tasted like this, I would actually like it!” As we chowed our way through the deliciousness, we heard a little bit about the story of the farm. It is family owned farm that predominately has cows, sheep, and goats. Their specialities include cheeses, milk, and yogurt. Twice a day, they ship large amounts out on the ferry where it is then driven to restaurants all over the Istanbul area. We got a chance to visit the cows (it was as if a bunch of midwesterners had never laid eyes on a cow before), got to see the pastures where they rotate their animals through to graze, and also got to ask the farmers specific questions. One of the things that impressed me the most was their desire to provide their food locally, and not ship their organic produce all over the world to different countries. To me, that’s an important part of what “organic” really means. Overall, it was a great experience for us all to see how the organic food movement is happening in different parts of the world and also feel the generosity and hospitality of people who merely strangers to us.
- The pyramids of Giza with Cairo in the background
See what I’ve written: