As well as a popular tourist destination, Fethiye is also an important agricultural centre.
It seems obvious now that forging a sustainable link between these two important sectors was the way forward for the beautiful Mediterranean town.
And it was back in 2010, with the support of the Travel Foundation, that this began to shape.
Taste of Fethiye project is a five-year collaboration project between Travel Foundation, Co-operative Travel, Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook.
Everyone involved agrees that it is proving to be a great success and going from strength to strength, with benefits for all.
Combining Fethiye’s strengths
Their original idea was to encourage local farmers and producers to work together with hoteliers and restaurateurs to establish a regular and reliable supply of high quality fresh fruit and vegetables.
The project is proving to be an inspirational success for everyone involved and many hotels in the Fethiye region are now buying produce from local farmers.
Taste of Fethiye is also helping local farmers to better understand the needs of hotels, plan their production cycles accordingly, and successfully market their goods.
To celebrate the Taste of Fethiye project’s contribution to local sustainable tourism, the Travel Foundation have made a film of their achievements so far.
Taste of Fethiye timeline
Throughout 2011, a series of workshops were held for farmers in the region, including advice on planning, collaboration of production and marketing to reduce waste and reduce costs. Written guidelines were also produced.
A self-drive ‘Village Routes’ booklet for holiday makers was developed and distributed for the summer 2012 season. Its aim is to encourage holidaymakers to explore villages away from the tourist trail and experience the great local produce that the region has to offer.
During the 2012 summer season, 32 local food events were held at hotels to help raise the profile of the produce, and the hoteliers supporting the local producers.
The summer 2012 season saw 617 tonnes of diverse, high quality, competitively-priced, fresh fruit and vegetables sustainably produced by 22 Taste of Fethiye farmers across five villages.
As a result, 17% of the produce has been sold (via wholesaler) to nine hotels in Fethiye, and the remainder to other customers (via wholesaler).
Over the 2013 growing season the farmers implemented new practices, including reducing their reliance on greenhouse production. By switching to more sustainable agricultural practices, they have managed to reduce costs by 30% and achieve a 26% increase in profits.
Taste of Fethiye produce is now used by central Fethiye’s popular Hattay cuisine restaurant, Mozaik Bahçe (Mosaic Garden)
Craft Fairs in Kayaköy
For the last three years Taste of Fethiye has held a biannual craft fair in the heart of Kayaköy, where local farmers, villagers and artisans can sell their produce and crafts.
The Taste of Fethiye team are now in the process of organizing another fair. Watch this space for details!