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drying peppers  copy

I still remember that fleeting image of red peppers lining the road as I drove from Izmir back to Istanbul at the end of a fabulous boat trip way back in 1982. I didn’t stop and always regretted not having taken a closer look. So, when I came across a similar scene a couple of weeks back as Jason, Filiz and I drove from Gaziantep to Maras, I immediately asked the driver to stop the car.

The set-up was slightly different. The sheets were further away from the road, spread in the middle of the fields, and there were no women working – back then, it was all women, dressed in the typical floral pants, busy spreading fresh peppers or packing already dried ones. This time, they were just men and the sheets were plastic and fairly dark as against the brilliant white cotton ones I saw back then. Still, the work was the same. The men were spreading fresh peppers to dry or gathering the already dried ones to pack into large bags to carry to market. Read more >