Tarsus is for taste

Tarsus is for taste

This year every food event is going online. It sounds a bit of an oxymoron when one cannot taste anything and feel the smells and aromas, but there seems to be no other way. Last week I wrote about the Gastronomika event in San Sebastian. Meanwhile, Terra Madre 2020 organized by Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity was taking off. It is hard to catch up with the pace, luckily most talks and presentations are recorded, and the videos are usually available. The event started with a week of talks and discussions, but do not be in despair thinking that you’ve missed it, a whole series of events will be spread to six months. So, there is still much to follow and join in.

Undoubtedly, the food events are not just for tasting and eating, it is more about conviviality and getting together, sharing not only food but also ideas, getting inspiration from each other, having fun together and connecting. One of the most convivial events ever must be the Terra Madre and Salone del Gusto event, where thousands from all over the world flock to Torino every two years. If even that manages to go online and still be convivial, there is hope for the future despite COVID-19.

This year there will be more about networking and hearing from each other across the globe, but there will also be many live events happening locally here and there. One such event started Oct. 18 in Tarsus, a historical city located in south-central Turkey, by organizing Tarsus Yeryüzü Pazarı, also known as Earth Market, that will take place twice every month on Sundays till the end of November, bringing together local producers and holding many food events.

Tarsus is located in close proximity to the major cities of Mersin and Adana, just a few kilometers inland from the Mediterranean shore. Located on the mouth of the Berdan River, which empties into the Mediterranean, Tarsus is a junction point of land and sea routes connecting the Çukurova (a very fertile plain), central Anatolia and the Mediterranean. The Tarsus Yeryüzü Pazarı will be held at the historical square that holds the Kubat Pasha Madrasa and the tomb of Prophet Daniel, a place that symbolizes fertility for the city.

The event is organized by the Tarsus Slow Food Convivium under the leadership of Fuat Togo, the leader of the Tarsus Earth Market and Yasmina Şelfun Lokmanoğlu, together with the collaboration of the Tarsus Municipality, the Tarsus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Tarsus Commodity Exchange and the Tarsus Chamber of Agriculture with the participation of Tarsus, Adana, Antakya and Antalya Slow Food communities.

Every edition of the market will be hosting about 60 exhibitors, local producers, food artisans and craftsmen from Tarsus and neighboring districts. The market will be an amazing place to explore the rich variety of local produce, seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables, regional herbs and flowers, spices, cereals and legumes, and especially carob products, rose syrup, preserves, olive oil, tea, kvass and much more. What is more exciting is, depending on the availability, some producers will also bring Slow Food Ark of Taste products, such as Turunç Ekşisi (sour extract of Seville oranges), Tort Peyniri (a local cheese), Patkara grapes (an indigenous grape now being reintroduced to wine-making), Sarı Ulak olives (a local variety of olives) and Bozyazı Kavutu (a sweetmeat made of carobs, peanuts and sesame seeds), all listed by Slow Food as food treasures to be safeguarded.

Besides, there will be lots of foods to savor, enjoy a brunch, and taste the diversity of Tarsus cuisine, which is rich with Cretan communities that came by the population exchange, nomadic Yörük populations of the mighty Taurus Mountains, Christian and Muslim Arab communities and much more. Tarsus Earth Market will be the perfect ground to bring people together, an event not to be missed, and an opportunity to explore Tarsus and the vicinities with its amazingly rich and layered culture, deep-rooted in history. Tarsus takes the lead in taste and welcomes all to join their conviviality.

Contact tarsusyeryuzupazari@gmail.com for more information, or check https://www.fondazioneslowfood.com/en/slow-food-markets/tarsus-earth-market/.