Where they come from – Sultanas and Raisins

Where they come from – Sultanas and Raisins


Under the hot Turkish sun


Out on the, usually, peaceful and sunny plains of Manisa, something is happening. It’s harvest time, where the peace and tranquillity is replaced by a flurry of activity. Starting before dawn, around 3am, the local growers are down in the field trying to get as much done as they can before the merciless sun rises and starts beating down on them.



More grapes are grown in Manisa than in any other area of Turkey and about 90 percent of all dried grapes come from here. This is because the flat, windswept plains are perfect for fruit production. Separated by mountains from the busy city of Izmir, Manisa feels like another world, with just fields and fields as far as the eye can see.


Back at the vineyard

The workers race to get the best and ripest grapes picked, their calls echo through the early dawn. Sometimes shouting for more buckets, sometimes just calling in jest, this is a whole family labour with even the smallest scrambling through the vines, lending a hand or just playing hide and seek.

Suddenly a cry is heard and everyone stops for breakfast. Freshly baked bread and local white cheese is passed around along with the essential Turkish tea and, of course, plenty of grapes. A simple breakfast, under the huge blue sky, with the breeze drifting through the vines seems better right now than anything a Michelin starred restaurant could offer.


Drying by nature

The grapes picked from this vineyard are to be laid out on the flat ground, upon long sheets to dry naturally in the end of summer sun. No industrial drying machinery here, they just use mother nature, the same way they have been doing for centuries.

It is the same when the vines were growing, these vineyards are totally organic, no pesticides or preservatives have been used on this crop. It means the yield is a little less than industrial vineyards, but the purity of the finished grapes is worth it. The organic way of life is taking over here. As demand in organic products grows worldwide, so the growers here realise the potential of ditching the chemicals.


Organic Produce

It’s not just for the earth that organic produce is important, nor is it for the consumer that makes a conscious choice to buy organic, either to help the planet, or to look after their own health. What strikes me as I sit in between the vines, drinking a small glass of tea, is the children running, playing in the dirt and the thought of other children running around similar fields all over the world. Now in many other fields, the earth is laced with toxins. It would be on the leaves, on the fruit. The children and their families would be there when it gets sprayed on, or just after as it drips to the ground.

I think of these families here as lucky, even if they took up organic growing due to profit, It is a choice that will make a major impact on their health, the health of their families and the generations that come after them. Sometimes we look at things like organic farming and pollution as a global thing, an abstract thing, when we should really stop and look at the real tangible impact that our choices make to the world around us.

So think on this as you enjoy one of our amazing berrilys fruit bars, or take a bite of a tasty dried apricot from our berrilys dried fruits range. Yes, we are helping the planet, and yes, it is good for you. But, there is a whole chain of people helped by you choosing organic. Farmers, workers, children and families around the world who don’t have to live, breath and play around toxins. The little extra cost in choosing organic doesn’t just help the growers provide for their families, choosing organic improves the lives and health of everyone involved in the project, isn’t that worth the small extra cost.