Harvest 15 days late in 'Land of Roses'
ISPARTA – Demirören News Agency
The aromatic experience of rose harvest in Isparta – the southwestern Turkish province known as the “land of roses” – has come two weeks later this year due to a longer-than-usual winter.
But now, tourists can experience Isparta’s aromatic rose gardens until at least June 20, said Isparta Mayor Şükrü Başdeğirmen.
Farmers have started harvesting the sweetly-scented blooms in many villages of the province, starting in the Ardıçlı village where rose gardens span a total area of 3,000 decares, or 3 million square meters. Tourists from Turkey and all over the world flock to the gardens to take in the sight of fields of colorful roses and a whiff of their unmistakable fragrance.
Tourists can visit the rose gardens and pick roses from the bushes, working side by side with the locals. Afterwards, they can take a tour of rose-processing facilities and learn more about what kind of processes are applied to the roses after harvest.
“They take home the roses they collect. They can dry them and use as ornaments or make jams or soups out of them,” Mayor Başdeğirmen said.
Last year, an estimated 300,000 tourists visited the province’s rose gardens.
The history of rose cultivation in Isparta dates back 150 years.
More than likely, if you have cosmetics containing roses as an ingredient, the blooms come from Isparta. About 65 percent of the roses used worldwide in the cosmetic industry come from Turkey’s “land of roses,” Başdeğirmen said.
“Our biggest rival in Bulgaria,” the mayor said, “but in Isparta, there is much more quality rose production compared to there.”
Isparta’s remarkable rose production comes in part from the province’s efficient sun level, said Başdeğirmen.
“And this makes it possible to have this region to have lots of endemic, medical and aromatic plants,” he said. “There are about 800 such plants in this region. This is not possible to see in many places in the world, meaning this place is one of the special places, with rose gardening being one of these special qualities.
“Roses do not grow everywhere, they pick the land and air to grow into,”
People in the province grow a total of 30,000 decades, or 30 million square meters, of roses, with farmers harvesting approximately 10 tons of roses every year, the mayor said.
The oil extracted from roses are used to make some of the world’s finest perfumes.
“Only one kilogram of rose oil is extracted from 4 tons of roses, with France being the biggest purchaser,” said Başdeğirmen.
Last year, the purchase price of rose flowers from the producers was 9 Turkish Liras, the mayor said. The rose oil market on the other hand varies between 9,000-13,000 euros per kilogram. This year’s rose price has yet to be determined.
“Of course, to produce 1 kilograms of rose oil from 4 tons of roses requires a lot of labor and is a sensitive issue,” the mayor said.