Enter autumn: A time of harvest and Türkiye’s ‘yellow’ summer

The beginning of autumn is the precious time of the year in Türkiye when school starts and the summer holiday season slowly comes to an end. But for those vacationing without children and not looking for crowds, this is actually the ideal time to travel in Türkiye. The weather is slightly cooler and the tourist attractions and beaches less crowded, while most summer-only venues are still open into next month, in what is widely seen as the end of the holiday season. Most seasonal restaurants, cafes and establishments choose to make 29 October, Republic Day and a public holiday in Türkiye, their last day of the season.

The weather will remain mostly warm throughout the month but cool in the evenings so this is also a time to come well prepared by bringing swimsuits, beachwear and sweaters and cardigans and the like. In other words, it’s a great time to wear layered outfits and be aware of how you can go from sweating from the heat to chilling from the breeze at any moment. The end of October will be a period known in Türkiye as “pastırma yazı”, which refers to the last heat wave of the year. The name itself refers to the cured meat called pastırma that is dried at this time of year.

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In general, we all hope that there will be some rain before in Türkiye because after the hot summer with little rainfall and now low humidity but strong wind, it is the best time for forest fires. In the past week alone, a number of forest fires broke out in popular holiday destinations, which fortunately were quickly extinguished. But it’s unashamed to be aware that while the weather may appear cooler, the risk of something catching fire is greater at this time of year as the woods have endured a long dry summer, meaning they are simply as very dangerous kindling sitting there. October rains are also a reality in Türkiye and are welcomed when they come, but this is another factor visitors should consider when planning their holiday.

However, the slightly cooler weather makes it an opportune time to hold weddings, so you may see more and more ceremonial processions and parties related to weddings, engagements, circumcision ceremonies, etc. In rural areas these can be day-long events with big celebrations held in gardens or even banquet-like areas in the streets with live music and honking car processions. This month and the next is also an ideal time to visit archaeological or ancient sites and boat trips, all excursions to be attempted in the sweltering summer heat in Türkiye’s southern coastal regions.

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Farmers’ markets across the country and even the major markets will look a bit different at this time of year as there is a wide variety of pickling and canning products that make up a large part of Türkiye’s cuisine. Referred to as “Güz” period, which is a Turkish word meaning “harvest” and “autumn”, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and a mixture of other vegetables that are smaller, harder and more deformed are sold at more affordable prices, to buy them in bulk for Turkish housewives to prepare their winter pantry. The tomato and pepper pastes that form the basis of many Turkish dishes are cooked from fresh produce and stored in jars during the fall season, saving jars and giving away to neighbors who engage in this preparation process, a great way to contribute perform this wonderful culinary practice that continues to thrive in Türkiye. It is also at this harvest time that the grapes and olives begin to be picked and so you can see blankets laid out under trees and vines for this process and groups of people with sticks and other implements used to gather these fruits. Olive oil factories will start having lines as the freshly picked olives need to be pressed into oil as soon as possible after being picked.

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In Türkiye, this season is also called “sarı yaz”, which means “yellow summer” and refers not only to the autumnal golden hues of the leaves, but also to reminds of the calm of the sea, which seafarers can keep for the right time of year Ants come to drink its water. The bottom line is that locals can enjoy their towns, which tend to be overcrowded in high season. Traveling to Türkiye at this time of year, visitors can really see how life is usually and experience the daily lifestyle of those of us who are lucky enough to live in the most popular holiday destinations in Türkiye all year round.

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