June’s High Temperatures Accelerate Tomato Drying Season

Tomatoes planted in the region during the spring began to be harvested in July. The tomato, picked by seasonal workers, are loaded onto trucks and tractors and transported to fields covered with white sheets.

Here, the tomatoes are cut and either salted or sulfured as needed, then left to dry in the sun for about a week.

The drying racks turn the plain red with the drying tomatoes, which are then packaged and exported.

Dried tomatoes, often used in pasta, pizza, and salads, are commonly enjoyed in Europe and the USA.

A significant portion of those working in the tomato drying process are agricultural workers from Siverek, a district in Şanlıurfa.

Workers start their day at dawn, emerging from their tents to begin their tomato-drying shifts, earning wages based on the number of crates they process under the scorching sun.

“The USA Discovers Dried Tomatoes”
Abdulvahap Olgun, Chairman of the Torbalı Chamber of Commerce, told an AA reporter that the district is a pioneer in dried tomatoes in Turkey.

Olgun explained that the product grown in the plain is dried under Torbalı’s sun and then processed in local facilities before being exported to nearly 100 countries. He added:

“In the early years, Italians showed a lot of interest. They still do. At one point, Brazilians started showing interest for use in sandwiches, and most recently, the USA discovered dried tomatoes. They use them in hamburgers. There is intense interest. Torbalı’s unique advantage lies in its humidity levels and sunlight angle, which together create an excellent model.”

Olgun noted that approximately 50,000 decares of land were planted with tomatoes in the district this year, with 80% used for paste production and 20% for drying and table consumption.

He emphasized that around 70% of the exported dried tomatoes come from Torbalı, with exports increasing daily. Olgun stated, “Our product is abundant this season, producing a tremendous tonnage of tomatoes within a month. During this abundant period, we need to process the tomatoes to extend their shelf life for consumption in the following months. This is part of our dried tomato model.”

“Farmers Will Achieve Record Yields This Year”
Kemal Saygıner, a dried tomato producer and exporter, said this year’s yield and quality are better than in previous years.

Saygıner noted the increase in production areas, stating, “Therefore, this situation provides a price advantage to producers and buyers during the tomato harvest. We do not have difficulty finding tomatoes.”

Having been in tomato production for many years, Saygıner said the high temperatures in June caused the crop to ripen early this year.

Saygıner emphasized that early ripening accelerated the harvest and drying process, adding:

“The harvest is good. Last year, a disease brought by rains at the start of the season reduced quality and yield. This year, there is no such issue. The sun is excellent, and the season is progressing well. I believe farmers will achieve a record yield this year. This is great news for the country, and I expect to see more affordable prices for tomato paste.”

Sinan Karataş, one of the workers, said they come to Torbalı every year during this period for the tomato harvest, staying for about a month. He mentioned starting work at 5:30 a.m. and continuing until 9:00 p.m.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button