Limniti (Yesilirmak), a village in the North West of Cyprus and where the first inhabitants of Cyprus were recorded, is one of the best regions of the North. Soil that is so rich in minerals and where practically anything grows. I’m very proud to say my dad’s family is from this village, and he was born and raised there, often relaying fond memories to us of halcyon days gone by. Days spent picking strawberries, figs and prickly pears, swimming in the crystal clear waters and climbing the hills.
For the first time, and only open for just over a year, there are now 40 donum (A Turkish land measure, equating to about just under 15 acres of land) of organic gardens (3 acres 0f which are forestland) to enjoy, run by the very able Nursel hanim. The gardens were the brainchild of Erson hoca, a local villager that was bequethed land by his mother many years previously. Erson hoca was way ahead of his time and decided he wanted to create a space where fruit and vegetables could grow naturally, freely, without pesticides or other chemicals and where Cypriots could visit to pick and enjoy ‘the fruits of their labour’, paying for what they’d picked. If you remember strawberry picking as a kid around the many lush gardens of England then you’ll understand the joys of picking your own.
Sadly, Erson hoca passed away before his dream could be fully realised and the organic gardens could be opened to the general public. Fortunately, Nursel hamim, his wife, perservered after a period of mourning, and finally, as well as the gardens, a guest house and restaurant was opened.
The gardens are certified organic and regulated by the ICEA in Italy -
This was recommended to Nursel hanim through the European Union. She is now part of a group of Cypriots around the island known as ORYAT – formed to represent organic growth and artisanal producers. They work hard together to raise money and help each other to remain sustainable and in operation.
Vegetables and fruit are available all year round and seasonal so always at their best flavour. The restaurant menu is daily and depends on what’s available from the gardens that day. Fresh breads and pastries are made daily too but as yet, Nursel hanim is working hard to get organic flour to the island. Currently she uses unrefined, hand milled flour as a good alternative. Any meat or eggs that are served on the menu are all free range. Where necessary, any produce for sale is ethically produced.
Nursel hanim has a team of 2 cooks that work with her to make jam, lemonade, pickles and other produce to sell as well as food for guests and visitors to the restaurant. She also has a team of farmers that work on a daily basis to keep the plants in good condition. As part of their sustainability, they also have a pool outside that is filled from the main water supply and used to keep the plants and trees happy especially during the dry months of summer.
If you’re visiting Cyprus, whether in the winter or summer then a trip to the Organic Gardens is highly advised. I left with a jar of Strawberry jam, (Limniti is famed for it’s strawberries) and a full belly from the homemade Pirohu and Manti, local pasta dishes.
It costs 30 Euros per night for a room and about £5-10 per head to eat and drink. Brilliant value and fantastic scenery too. We left Nursel hanim that day making Lime jam…I shall be back this week to pick up a jar…
For more information go to: www.cyprusorganicfarm.com or phone: +05338615304 / 05338682989 and email: email@example.com