Einkorn (Triticum monococcum), locally known as siyez in northwest Turkey, is a hulled wheat variety. It is a semi-wild relative of wheat and is considered one of the Neolithic founder crops of agriculture, along with emmer and barley. Grown in the ancient Near East for at least eight thousand years, its production today is limited to marginal mountainous and isolated communities in different countries of the Mediterranean region. This article examines the expansion of einkorn markets in Turkey, an important wheat exporting and processing country, which has created increased income opportunities for small farmers in Ihsangazi, Kastamonu. Although einkorn already fits into the broad dietary habits of Turkish consumers, gradual market expansion has occurred as urban middle-class consumers acquire a taste for it. While the emergence of health niche markets has been one factor, the interventions of multiple actors have also helped to create and sustain these markets that connect local producers to both local and global consumers.
“You Can Never Give Up Siyez If You Taste It Once”: Local Taste, Global Markets, and the Conservation of Einkorn, an Ancient Wheat
Nurcan Atalan-Helicke is Associate Professor in Environmental Studies and Sciences at Skidmore College, New York. Her research is on food systems and social movements, focusing on the conservation of traditional wheat varieties as well as on Islam and genetically engineered food. She is a qualitative social scientist and has carried out fieldwork in Turkey and the northeast United States. Her research has been published in interdisciplinary peer review journals such as Agriculture and Human Values, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, and Global Environmental Politics.
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Nurcan Atalan-Helicke; “You Can Never Give Up Siyez If You Taste It Once”: Local Taste, Global Markets, and the Conservation of Einkorn, an Ancient Wheat. Gastronomica 1 May 2018; 18 (2): 33–45. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2018.18.2.33
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