What would be the normal thing to do the day before you are flying out to Australia from Turkey? I am guessing that you might go have a drink or a bite to eat down by the harbour with some friends, take a relaxing boat trip, visit a souvenir shop or two for last minute gifts, grab that chance for a suntan top-up down at the beach or perhaps have a glass of tea with your neighbours?
Well, not us! No, no, no.. we had other ideas.
We wanted to make sure Laura our petsitter knew a few of our neighbours and felt comfortable staying in our home for 2 months without us. Well we really didn’t have to worry. She had already made herself known and was very much liked quite instantly. What’s wrong with me? Why does my mothering instinct come out so strongly at times?
Yuksel, whose wife runs my very favourite köy kahvaltısı place ‘Huzur Sofrası’ on the banks of the river not too far from us, can often can be seen driving his tractor along the waterfront. He has a large plot of land right against the shore and he has every imaginable fruit growing on it.
Köy Kahvaltısı – literally means a village breakfast but really I would describe it as a brunch time experience that fills you up for the whole day. Many places often serve over 20 different dishes, including freshly baked bread and it is common to sit in a verandah type little gazebo called a ‘kösk’ where you take your shoes off and sit on the carpeted floor and eat from low tables, in a very relaxed manner.
The meal will often last a couple of hours as you eat very slowly, savouring all the wonderfully different dishes. If you wished to stay all day, they certainly would not stop you. As the river runs by, just below, it is a very cool and relaxing place to hang out.
Yuksel has far too much fruit to know what to do with and is sincerely into organic produce. Hence half of what he picks is completely full of bugs but the other half is tasty beyond words. He is also very generous and is often asking me when we would like to go picking with him.
He knows that by having all his fruit picked, that his harvest will be even better next year. However, at the same time, he is seriously not interested in taking any of his goods to market.
So Mehmet who runs the beach front restaurant, Laura and I, joined Yuksel for our last summer forage before Henrik and I were to take off to Australia.
Our first and favourite stop is at the two most delicious mulberry trees ever known to mankind. They are totally laden and shed fruit for around 5 weeks. Boy, are we spoilt.
Being able to stand in the trailer and pick is a Godsend. It’s just fabulous not having to worry about all the thistles below and be surrounded in this delicious fruit at mouth height!!
Our dogs Toesen and Pepita wait patiently for the next pitstop. Yuksel is happy driving and we throw him the occasional fruity morsel to keep him happy!
Although we could fill two buckets without climbing, it just ain’t as much fun, if you don’t. Right?
Moving on, we come to the peach trees. They are a smaller variety, incredibly juicy and sweet. And then there are the plum trees right next door. How we are going to store all this fruit is frightening. If I had time I would be making jams, sauces, relishes and chutneys by the bucket load, but I am flying out the next day, so it’s just not going to happen this time!
It’s not often you get to pick oranges from the top of a tree. It’s just too good to refuse, so as we pass by, Yuksel slows down and we go for it.
Sometimes, life is just so good. The dogs have had a blast, we have more fruit than we can handle and we are heading back home, into the sunset.