Turkey's morel mushrooms — endowed with nutritional value, rich aroma and delicate flavor — are in hot demand all over world.
Grown in forest lands, one kilogram of this distinctive fungi with a honeycomb appearance costs 250 euro ($284) in the international market.
The mushroom variety is cultivated all over Turkey in the forest areas, when the weather changes from winter to spring. They are grown mostly in woods, rich with pine and oak trees.
They are offered for sale both fresh as well as dried. Even as Europe is considered the largest market for dried mushrooms, the demand for morel variety is manifold.
There are eight Turkish companies which export mushrooms. But Murtaza Yazıcı, director of Ardıç Tarım – a company engaged in mushroom business – says the country may not be able to match the growing export demand.
Stimulated by a continuous trend toward healthier lifestyles, European consumers are increasingly turning to consume dried mushrooms as a source of vegetable proteins.
"Mushrooms of this quality are not grown in other countries. Our mushrooms are a favorite in the world," Yazıcı said.
The scape or the stem of the mushroom is used in soups or sauces and in the pharmaceutical industry as well. They contain 42% high quality protein, rich minerals, but low calories – an ideal diet to remain healthy.