WHAT was originally meant to be a family’s holiday home in Turkey has turned into a fruitful olive grove.

Ahmed Yusuf, from Kidlington, bought land in Turkey ten years ago to build a holiday villa, but after discovering there were olive trees on his land, he decided to use it to his advantage and make extra virgin olive oil.

The 71-year-old, who is now retired, has set up a small business called the Anatolian Olive Oil Company, where he sells extra virgin olive oil online as well as at food festivals and Christmas markets around Oxfordshire.

He said: “My wife and I bought the farm in 2008 to build a holiday home. We then realised we had about 300 old olive trees. My Turkish neighbour, Mehmet, convinced me to plant more and we eventually invested in an olive press on the farm.”

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His land, located on the south west coast of Turkey at Lycian Way which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea, is now home to over 500 olive trees which include three different varieties called Arbequina, Gemlik and Memecik.

After many years of the land being neglected, Mr Yusuf and his team have lovingly restored it and cared for the trees, reaping up to 40kg of olives per tree. Every 10kg of olives makes up to three litres of extra virgin olive oil.

Mr Yusuf, who is originally from Pakistan, also makes pomegranate molasses, and this year has started producing mulberry syrup.

He says all his products are organic, high in nutrition and suitable for vegans.

The businessman said: “We take good care of our olive trees because they are 100 years old. We don’t use pesticides and we use a special oil called Neem on our trees to protect the plant.

“In the summer we spray Kaolin, which is a clay powder, and mix it with water to spray on the leaves of the trees which stops them from dehydrating.”

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He values producing extra virgin olive oil that is as pure as possible by ensuring the olives are harvested when they are green or just turning black; are pressed by a steel hammer as soon as they are picked; stored in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and packaged in dark green bottles.

Mr Yusuf, who has lived in Kidlington for 20 years after moving from Dubai, says he makes 300-400 litres of extra virgin olive oil and 300kg of pomegranate molasses each harvest.

He wants his products to be exclusive but is concerned about retailers in the UK who are not truthful in the origins and manufacturing process of its olive oils.

He said: “A lot of manufacturers produce extra virgin olive oil that has been watered down, making it olive oil, but still selling it at an extra virgin olive oil price. Customers are being cheated and taken advantage of.”

The labels on Mr Yusuf’s products come with a map, specifying where the ingredients used originate. He says it is important to be transparent with his customers.

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He said: “It is so wonderful to make something so delicious and healthy. It has been hugely satisfying to bring our ancient olive grove back to life and produce superior extra virgin olive oil.

“We really enjoy meeting people at food festivals and I want people to be aware of the great variety of Turkish produce.”