Meet the Snail Farmer has a new story for you! Read more about Gamze and his journey of snail farming in Izmir, Turkey. Gamze set up a snail business called Helixturca and you can read more about his snails and snail caviar here.
Where did you get the idea to start snail farming?
We mainly focused on our marble business in Turkey for many years and we have had lots of success, however we wanted to diversify our business and started looking into ventures which haven’t been done in Turkey before. Our research brought us to snail farming.
Where is your snail farm located and how big is the farm?
Our snail farm is in Izmir, Turkey, the motherland of Helix family. Our farm land is around 12.000 m2.
What are the most important things to consider when starting a snail farm?
The first important thing is climate and fortunately in Izmir province we have very suitable climate for snail farming. We are operating both indoor and outdoor snail farm as we have a reproduction unit and we also need to control temperature and humidity in indoor areas. Planting efficient vegetation, feeding and pest control are also very important.
How much time did your farm take to be built up and running?
It took approximately 1 year from official applications to starting with snail production. We immediately started production in 2-3 days after importing reproducer snails.
What are the biggest obstacles to successful snail farming?
The weather conditions are the biggest obstacle as it needs to be stable and suitable for snails.
In what forms do you sell snails and where did you find your first buyers?
We mainly sell live snails. We are also planning to supply snail eggs as snail caviar. Our first sale will be hopefully in September after raising our first party snails.
What does your typical day look like?
Our typical day is very busy in the farm…We spend the day controlling, cleaning and feeding, and in the meantime focusing on promotion & marketing.
What personal traits does a person need to start this venture and be successful?
First of all you need to be pertinacious and strong-minded…As this is a very new and unknown field in Turkey, you have to be patient as many people are sceptical and they try to discourage you. Snail farming is a very labour intensive business so you need to be hard-working.
Where did you learn both the business and technical side of snail farming?
We contacted 4 or 5 farms in Europe and also the Cherasco Institute and got some information to start with. Then we decide to visit one of these farms on 3 different occasions to observe the snail farm operation in detail and got trained. During this time we also visited the Cherasco Institute in Italy to get some more training.
Do you recommend any good restaurant serving escargots?
We are not used to eating escargot in Turkey and there is not many restaurants serving escargot beside the ones in big hotels. We heard that there are some independent restaurants serving escargot in touristic areas in Turkey. Setting up an escargot restaurant is in our plan, once we fully develop our farming business.
If you would like to start a snail farming business please read more about it in the Guide to Snail Farming.