Şile kestane balı
Şile is a town on the Black Sea coast in northwestern Turkey, just 70km from one of the biggest metropolis on earth, Istanbul. Şile is made up of 57 villages, and of all Istanbul’s districts it has the most rural and forested land: 79% of the district is covered with forest areas. Its population of 31000 live on a low plateau which has an average elevation of 126m, located in the northwesternmost part of a region known as Bithinia in ancient times. According to tradition, a Miletus Colony was established in the city in the 8th Century BC. However, archeological studies suggest the settlement is much older.
Oak and chestnut trees, which make up the majority in the forests of Şile, have developed well in the region’s acidic soil. Heathers of the highest quality are also to be found in Şile region, representing an important source of nutrition for bees. 810 plant species grow in Şile, 15 of which are endemic. Important nectar producing plants like chestnut, linden, pseudo-acacia, blackberry, heather and strawberry are all present.
Chestnut honey production started in Yeniköy, one of the villages in Şile, in the 1960s. In the early years, the honey was produced in primitive beehives but since the 1970s the beekeepers have used modern , the first of which were again used in Yeniköy. The honey is widely renowned throughout the region and is a source of great pride for the people of Şile. The average annual production of chestnut honey is 40 tons, historically produced in villages surrounded by chestnut forests.
Some important ones are: Yeniköy, Çayırbaşı, Doğancılı, Akçakese, Kömürlük, Alacalı and Agva. The chestnut forests from which the bees collect the nectar throughout June cover an area of 11-12 hectares, situated at 100-200m above sea level.