History of the Hazelnut
History of the Hazelnut
The name “Hazelnut” (Fındık in Turkish) derives from the ancient name of the Black Sea, “Pont Exinus.” Plinus further asserted that hazelnut was known as “Pontos walnut” since it was introduced from the Pontos coasts. Hazelnut originated from the Eastern Region of the Black Sea, spread out to the Mediterranean, Middle East, and European countries, and carried its name beside it. The word hazelnut is in Persian “fonduk”, Arabic “bunduk”, Latin “nux”, German “haselnuss”, French “noisette”, English “hazelnut”, Greek “leptokarion”, Armenian “kalin”, Tatar “çitlevük”, ancient Greek “ Funduki”, Italian “nocciola” , Spanish “avellana”, Portuguese “avella”, and Romanian “aluna”.
According to legend, the spread of hazelnut culture among Turks took place in three stages. The first stage is when the Turks were in Central Asia, and the hazelnut is known as “kosık” or “kosuk” in that region. The second stage is when Western Turks used the word “çetlevük” to refer to hazelnuts. The third stage is when the Anatolian Turks changed the word “fındık (Hazelnut)” to “bunduk,” named after the Arab influence, and then renamed it “fındık”.
– Hazelnut in Ancient and Medieval Sources;
Many authors, natural scientists, historians expressed differing opinions about the origins of the hazelnut. Archaeological excavations show that hazelnuts were part of the mesolithic diet around 10000 BC. The hazelnut was said to have been cultivated in China in 2838 BC, is one of the five sacred fruits bestowed by God on people.
Herodotus (490-425 BC), the great historian of antiquity, wrote in his studies. The History of Herodotus that hazelnuts were grown east of the Black Sea, and he also describes how hazelnut oil used to be extracted in ancient times. Obtaining hazelnut oil by placing hazelnut kernels in a bag and pressing them is similar to the methods used in rural areas today to obtain oil from olives and hazelnuts.
The Greek philosopher Theophrastos, who lived between 372 and 287 BC, says of hazelnut, “It is sufficient to take it from the original root and plant it in another place to save the Pontic nut-hazelnut from wildness and domesticate it. In this way, hazelnuts, which are more patient in the winter season, are classified under two varieties: round, and long pointed. Hazelnut seedlings thrive mostly in moist environments.”
It is reported that the Uyghurs know about the hazelnut tree and consider it a sacred tree, that hazelnuts are frequently used in the preparation of sauces in ancient Greek and Roman cuisine, and that hazelnut is included in the “dessert with honey and nuts” recipe in Athenaeus’ Deipnosophist, which lived around 200 AD. Furthermore, Plinius (23-79 AD) is said to have mentioned hazelnut calling it “Avellinea” and “Pontus walnut” in his work, Natural History.
According to a study on the history of the hazelnut, it was concluded that they were consumed as food in the early ages of history in the Rohen basin of Switzerland, when humans erected stilted huts in shallow spots of lakes.
– Hazelnut in Seljuk and Ottoman Era;
The Iranian version of the Uyghur Epic contains the earliest referance of the hazelnut tree in Turkish sources: “At the confluence of the Tugla and Selenga rivers, a mountain between a beech and a hazelnut tree swelled and split. Then five children emerged.”
In his book El Kanun Fi’t-Tıbb, the great Turkish scholar Ibn-i Sina (930-1037) mentions hazelnut as a medicine used to cure various diseases.
Ispartalı Seyrani, who lived in the 13th century, stated that plenty of hazelnuts were grown in Giresun during his visit to the Black Sea Region. Moreover, during a trip to the Trabzon region, Evliya Çelebi mentioned that “the forests of the mountains and stones are abundant in hazelnuts.”
The very first written record of the sale of hazelnut as an international trade good dates from 1403. In 1403 King of Spain III. Henry sends an messenger to Timur, that messenger meets with Timur and then travels by sea from Trabzon to Istanbul. The following sentence appears in his Travelogue, in which he wrote his travel impressions: “On 17 September 1403, we went to Istanbul in 25 days with a ship full of hazelnuts under the command of Captain Nicolos Cojen from Trabzon.”
In 1737, during the reign of Mahmut I (1730-1754), a trade agreement with France was signed. Hazelnuts are among the products that will be sold to France under this agreement.
Turkish hazelnuts were first recognized, particularly in European countries, after the second half of the 18th century. According to reports, hazelnut exports to Russia began in 1782, Romania in 1792, and Belgium in 1875. The first hazelnut kernel export occurred in 1879. Hazelnut exports to various countries began in 1906 with Serbia, 1907 with Germany, 1909 with Marseille (France), and 1912 with the United States.
Turkey was the sole producer and exporter of hazelnuts in the early 1900s. The following sentences about hazelnuts appears in the May 5, 1902 dated travel diary of Swiss Lui Ramber: We arrived in Giresun early in the morning… Today we are in the land of hazelnuts… Regularly planted hazelnuts can be seen on the slopes, in the folds of small valleys, in short, everywhere.
It has been reported that hazelnut farming in Ordu began late. The written order for the prohibition of rice cultivation and promotion of hazelnut farming in the Province of Ordu to prevent malaria is dated back to 9 June 1894.
– Hazelnut in Early Republic Era;
The hazelnut issue was handled seriously throughout the Republican era, and numerous research were conducted on the matter. Rize was included in the hazelnut growing provinces by law no. 407 enacted in 1925; again by law no. 552 enacted in 1925, the Tithe Tax was repealed, and an 8 percent tax on hazelnuts was instituted instead
The export of hazelnut saplings was restricted by a government regulation numbered 6207 published in 1927.
iş Limited Şirketi was founded in 1930, and 1931, the company began trading in hazelnuts.
The First National Hazelnut Congress was held in Ankara on October 10, 1935. From hazelnut farming to sale, quality and standards issues were examined and presented to the congress in numerous reports at this congress. The Hazelnut Regulation became effective.
In 1936, the Hazelnut Station was established in Giresun.
The command was given by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in his opening speech to Turkey’s Grand National Assembly on November 1, 1937: “In the next year, unions shall be established that will also affect our other significant goods, especially hazelnuts.” Following this directive, Giresun Hazelnut Agricultural Sales Cooperatives Union (FISKOBIRLIK) was founded on July 28, 1938.
İş Limited Şirketi, which had served its purpose, was liquidated in 1939.
On November 6, 1940, the Black Sea Region Hazelnut Exporters Union was founded, with its headquarters in Giresun.
On November 7, 1957, the Second National Hazelnut Congress was held in Giresun. 47 years later, on 10-14 October 2004, Giresun hosted the Third National Hazelnut Council. The hazelnut issue was discussed in depth here, and the council’s decisions were announced to the public in the form of a 29-item statement at the end of the meeting. The Hazelnut Station was renamed to Hazelnut Research Institute in 1965. The law dated 16.6.1983 and numbered 2844 was enacted in 1983, and it specifies the planning of hazelnut production as well as the limitation of planting areas. Tirebolu hosted the first Hazelnut Festival on September 6-7, 1996. FTG (Hazelnut Promotion Group) was formed in 1996, and various studies were conducted to increase domestic and foreign consumption of hazelnuts.