A fresh walnut is completely different from the type found in a package on a supermarket shelf. The nut is pale and soft, the flavor light and creamy, with not a trace of bitterness. It almost melts in your mouth. Rarely is it possible to eat just one. I can vouch for this because, last autumn, I ate more walnuts per day than I would usually consume in a year, thanks to a six-week stint on an Anatolian walnut farm.
Having decided to move from London to Istanbul for work, my husband and I wanted to begin by improving our Turkish. We stumbled upon Tatuta , a matchmaking site for organic farms in Turkey and volunteers willing to lend a hand. It was something of a challenge for us – a pair of city dwellers with little agricultural experience – to come up with a compelling account of why we would be useful. In the end, we just decided to sound enthusiastic and willing to learn.
After a few rejections, we were accepted by Cevizbağı , a farm whose name means “walnut orchard,” located about two hours’ drive from Ankara in the province of Kırşehir. The setting was unexpectedly beautiful. The farm sits high above the small town of Kaman and feels open, isolated and wild. In the distance is a glinting reservoir that stretches for miles under a range of straw-colored hills.
Read the rest of this feature at Culinary Backstreets .