Tuna, Arda and Cahit YAGCI:
Owners and operators of the Izmir based AR-TU factory that produces Valex from Q. Ithaburensis Acorn Caps.
Local stakeholders met with the YAGCI family to discuss the possibility of buying large quantities of Hamada on an annual basis. The Turkish company is able to purchase 500-2000 TONS of acorn caps per year.
The AR-TU family owned factory in Izmir Turkey produces VALEX - a powder tannin product for the leather tanning industry. VALEX is the trade name for acorn cap based vegetable tanning agents in liquid and powder form. This is the only factory in Turkey that produces VALEX. These are 10m tall (3 stories) copper cookers that boil 4500 kilos of acorn caps each for 120 minutes at the beginning of a laborious extraction process.
26,000 kilos of acorn caps, Hamada, were collected on Kea in 2015 and stored carefully until sale in March 2017.
Most trees do not produce acorn caps every year making dry, rodent free storage a crucial part of acorn cap collecting.
Fortunately, we have plenty of living memory from the oldest generation that collected and stored caps throughout their childhoods and early adult years until 1965 when orders from Europe and Lesbos stopped. These farmers remember the Oak as a good provider and were quick to return to collecting when it was announced that caps could once again be sold.