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Take Me Higher…into the Yayla of Ayder

The local restaurant awaits.

“Ok, if you end up sleeping outside tonight, give me a call and I will drive up there and get you,” Ahmet, the owner of a bus-stop cay-stall tells me before he packs me into a dolmuş. Wait, what?

The door slides shut and my mind begins to race. Wait! Will Ayder be so crowded that I won’t be able to find a room? If this doubt exists, can’t we just call someone and check first? (more…)

From bee to shinning bee

Everyone agrees: this has been the worst honey seasons across Turkey in 10 years. Where hives should be yielding 20-60 kilos of honey, many are yielding a mere five. This is not from major bee losses, diseases, or an increase in cell phone waves. These production struggles are from climate change. Too much rain, or not enough, have cut seasons short, dried up flowers, and dampened productivity.

As a result of the prevailing honey woes and the increasingly volatile seasons, I have taken to the hills (and two ends of Turkey’s seas) to do my research. Before I enter business with 10,000 + hypersensitive Caucasian women (i.e. kafkas bees), I want to learn everything there is to learn. And oh yea, and I have decided I want to write a book.

Writing a book somehow makes sense. I could raise the profile of Turkish honey, as well as increase awareness about the environmental issues, culture, history, diversity, politics, and stories of the local people – all through the lens of honey and bees. Shedding light on this incredible region will also help the Balyolu venture and the bees-honey-women-development cause. For at the heart of great marketing lies an incredible story. And I can tell you this, that story is here.

So as my journey unfolds, I am swept away from Kars temporarily to Ayder (Rize), Yusufeli (Artvin), Tekirdag/Gokceada (Trakya) and the famous Macahel (Artvin).

Here is the sneak peek of what is to come:

Ayder: beekeepers take to the trees ... or their rooftops to harvest famous Ayder honey.

Yusufeli: From the hights of the Kackar Mountains to the depths of the Coruh Valley, ancient Georgian bridges and churches blend into the stunning geography. Bees really know how to pick the most beautiful places to live.

Tekirdag: Though radiant in the mid-summer sun, Tekirdag sunflowers spell danger to bee populations.

Gokceada: at the western most point of Turkey, hives face the surrounding Greek islands and Gokceada's raw past.

Macahel: leaving the mighty forests behind them, bees return to the safety of their karakovan home.

Stay tuned.


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