The hinterland of the port-city
Author: KARA TUGBA
As a typical Black Sea coastal town, the city of Giresun does not possess many arable cereal lands. The cultivation carried out in the plains and along the rivers  was far from sufficient.  Out of the total land of Giresun and its sub-districts, 15.83% consisted of arable fields, 32.36% forests, and 52% of summer and winter pastures, and village meadows.  Thus, the arable land of the entire city of Giresun was around 15%, which corresponded approximately to 336,000 donums of the total land (1 donum is equivalent to 918 square meters).
From the Ottoman times to the present day, the main agricultural product of Giresun is hazelnuts, and this product also formed the main source of income for the local people who were engaged in agriculture. In the Ottoman era, the hazelnut produced in Giresun was produced for exports, contributing to the national economy.  In the 19th century, the annual amount of hazelnut exports was between 2 to 3 million kilograms. Another piece of information on this subject is given by L. Rambert, who was in Giresun in the beginning of the 20th century. He reports that Giresun’s annual exports of hazelnut amounted to 4 to 5 million francs, and that the ships approaching the port took a full load of hazelnuts before leaving.  These ships were en route to the ports of Odessa and Sevastopol in the Black Sea, and Marseille in the Mediterranean. Although Italy, Spain and France also produced hazelnuts, theirs were relatively of inferior quality. 
The Ottoman administration started to provide statistical evidence of the production of the area since the late 1870s; more particularly five thousand tons of hazelnuts were exported in 1878. In 1879, the amount of hazelnuts produced in Giresun was 866,340 kıyyes*. During the 19th and also in the 20th centuries, the production volume steadily increased.  One of the important hazelnut producers of the city was Kaptan Yorgi Pasha, who also was the mayor of the city in the second half of the 19th century, while his brother Divanis also played an active role in the development of hazelnut agriculture.  The abundance of hazelnut production did not mean that the locals were only engaged in hazelnut cultivation. It is emphasised in the Trabzon Provincial Yearbook of 1892 that other agricultural products were also grown, albeit of a lower volume.
As explained above, the lack of arable areas led to the production of other agricultural items only to meet the local need. Among these items, corn and rice used to be grown in the coastal region, while wheat and barley were grown in the inner region. In addition to these, a small size cultivation of chickpeas and beans was also carried out.  The production in 1879 included 3,190 kıyyes of walnuts, 61,750 kıyyes of beans, 61,760 bushels of corn.  Beans were also cultivated for export. Besides, 6,000 kıyyes of tobacco, and some amount of fruits including grapes, although they were not well cultivated, used to be produced.  Some of the grape production was used to produce wine. It is emphasised both by Şemseddin Sami and also in the yearbook that these wines were very inferior in quality.  The fact that the name Giresun comes from the name cherry, and that Joseph Tournefort, who visited the region in the 18th century,  said that “the hills close to the coast are covered with forests of cherry trees that grow on their own”, suggests that cherry was also an important agricultural product.
 Trabzon Vilayet Salnamesi 1319 (1901), p. 215; Oktay Karaman, Giresun Kazası (1850-1900), Doctoral Thesis, Institute of Social Sciences, Atatürk University, Erzurum, 1999, p. 142.
* Kıyye: 1,282 grams
 Ş. Sami, Kamus’ul-Âlâm, ibid; TVS 1321(1903), ibid.