Turning to olive oil: From the classroom to the olive grove in Greece

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Turning to olive oil: From the classroom to the olive grove in GreeceTeachers from Greek olive oil producing families decided to turn their interest in the sustainable production of olives and olive oil into new business ventures

WRITTEN BY LISA RADINOVSKY

Two teachers from Greek olive oil producing families decided to turn their interest in the sustainable production of olives and olive oil into new business ventures. Growing olives in two areas in the eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece, they have found different ways to combine olive oil production with their dedication to teaching.

Dr. Tasos Anestis taught marine biology for twelve years in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program at a large private school in Athens. During that time, he continued to return to his family’s olive groves as “part of the harvesting team almost every season.” He knew “the effort is immense,” and the resulting extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) “really high quality.” Yet that effort and quality were not being recognized or rewarded by selling the family’s extra virgin olive oil in bulk, as so many Greek producers do, and his family did for generations. 

So Anestis turned back to the land to focus on making “our orchard a balanced ecosystem” free of chemical pesticides and fertilizers, and on bottling their own brand of organic EVOO, Rhizoma. As Anestis says, his team’s way of life is summarized in their motto: "tradition meets science." Anestis explains that “studying biology helped me a lot to respond in a more sustainable way to the needs of our farm.”

After a few transitional years to establish his olive oil business, Anestis stopped teaching in a classroom to focus on his olives, “but I have transported my class out into the olive orchard for people interested in the production of high quality organic olive oil.” Visitors can arrange a free “visit to our orchard and get to know all the different details of real production of EVOO” in Kranidi, Argolidos, a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) in the eastern Peloponnese. 

Moreover, Anestis reports, now “I am honored to be invited by groups of farmers all over Greece to share our knowledge and empirical data on our approach to cultivating, promoting, and selling our product. These attributes have made Rhizoma a well known brand of real EVOO.”

Anestis strongly believes “that Greece is capable of becoming the boutique market for organic products in Europe” by focusing on “more sustainable production” and high quality products. Although “we do not have the volume and the space to become Spain, nor the brand name ‘made in Italy’ to be in all markets, Greece has a unique opportunity to start being a serious producer country again,” after being “mainly a consumer country in recent years. Relying to a great extend on the uniqueness of our land and the added value of our products, we are very optimistic.”

Another optimistic teacher turned olive oil producer, Ioannis Kampouris, has been interested in Greek philology “since my school years in Constantinople.” At the same time, he tells Greek Liquid Gold, “my concern with nature and the cultivation of olive oil has been in my life since my childhood on the island of Imvros, where a family tradition of olive growing” dates back to 1858. In Imvros, he grew up in the midst of olive groves and orchards, helped with the olive harvest, and savored the fresh olive oil.

After studying literature in Athens, Kampouris taught ancient Greek and Latin, establishing a series of private language tutoring schools in Athens called Synchrono and publishing books about the Latin language. After 37 years instructing thousands of students, he still teaches, “because the love for children and the encouragement of young entrepreneurship are linked to my character.”

However, “memories of my hometown, my teenage experiences working in the olive groves, and a love for Mother Nature” also led him back to olive oil production. So he planted olive trees near ancient Mycenae in northeastern Peloponnese. Initially, he made olive oil just for friends and family, like most Greeks. Then in 2013, in the midst of the Greek version of the Great Depression, he and his wife, philologist Olga Bountala, joined close friends to start a company, E-la-won, that would share the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and promote Greek products throughout Europe and the Middle East.

Kampouris has managed to successfully combine his two passions, continuing to teach while maintaining a hands-on approach to every stage of the olive oil production process. In addition to an environmental award for supporting the circular economy and sustainable development, E-la-won has received 47 prizes for the flavor and packaging of the company’s olive oil. “We are also proud because our olive oil,” due to its especially high polyphenol content, which provides exceptional health benefits, “is used in scientific research on multiple sclerosis.”

Now Kampouris shares with students his knowledge about olive oil and business, as well as his expertise in ancient languages. “I am delighted to be part of the olive oil industry, because with our educational background and experience we transfer knowledge and culture to schools and young people, and we advise them on the quality and safety of food. The example of our company is spreading through training sessions and tastings that we hold in schools. The activity of our company has been studied both by the Athens University of Economics and Business and by the University of Western Attica.”

Expanding their focus beyond the classroom to the olive grove and mill, Anestis and Kampouris also found new ways to share their knowledge about Greek olive oil and healthy foods with more students, as well as others of varying ages and backgrounds.   

_______________

This is the third in a series of articles about Greek professionals from various fields who have changed or added to their careers, diverting some or all of their energy to the olive oil world. The first in the series is Turning to Olive Oil: Why Greek Professionals Shift Gears; the second is Turning to Olive Oil: Two Women Head Back to Cretan Groves. Thanks to Tasos Anestis (top) and Ioannis Kampouris (center, introduction) for the photos used with this article.

Read more at greekliquidgold.com

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Photo Source: greekliquidgold.com

Tornos
  1. 19/08 16:36

    Research: One in 10 Brits missed out overseas holiday due to Brexit uncertainties

  2. 19/08 16:25

    Speed boat operator arrested off Greek island of Spetses for drunken driving

  3. 19/08 16:13

    2,1% rise in Cyprus tourist arrivals during July 2019

  4. 19/08 15:37

    Inscription found in Paleochoria links goddess Artemis to Amarynthos sanctuary

  5. 19/08 15:03

    Two massive petrified tree trunks discovered on Greek island of Lesvos

  6. 19/08 14:51

    Studies: Culture Tourism attracts visitors to Greek islands

  7. 19/08 12:45

    Greek Prime Minister to have series of trips abroad in the next period

  8. 19/08 10:28

    Two Greek government meetings on Samothrace's island ferry service

  9. 18/08 20:31

    Greek Investment Ministry to accelerate public-private projects for 2020-2023

  10. 18/08 20:20

    Greek Development Minister tours Afandou in Rhodes with investor

  11. 18/08 20:10

    Three bidders left for Hellenikon Casino investment in the Athens suburb

  12. 18/08 19:50

    Andros Jet to link Samothrace island with Alexandroupolis for two more days

  13. 18/08 19:26

    Exhibition opening on the Mosaic of Aegina in Greek island near Athens

  14. 18/08 19:15

    Aegean Regatta sets sail across Greece on Monday

  15. 18/08 19:05

    Impressive triangular home constructed in olive grove west of Athens

  16. 18/08 13:59

    New art director of Greek Festival

  17. 17/08 18:58

    Lighthouses open to public across Greece on August 18

  18. 16/08 23:23

    Full moon events at archaeological sites to conclude in Greece Sunday

  19. 16/08 23:12

    Greek Ministers to meet on Monday on Samothrace island transportation issue

  20. 16/08 21:47

    Greece records impresssive primary surplus of €1.779 billion in Jan-July

  21. 16/08 21:28

    Greek hospital worker fined 100 euros for violating smoking ban

  22. 16/08 20:59

    Cyclades International Classical Music Festival on Greek island of Syros

  23. 16/08 16:38

    Full moon shining bright over Koroni castle in southern Greece

  24. 16/08 15:26

    Greek island of Kos installs tsunami alert amid complaints from local hoteliers

  25. 16/08 12:40

    No active firefronts on Evia island but authorities still on alert

  26. 15/08 23:04

    Greek Prime Minister attends August 15 liturgy in island of Tinos

  27. 15/08 20:25

    Real estate report: Strong demand for office space in Greece

  28. 15/08 19:53

    Dormition of Virgin Mary celebrated across Greece on August 15th

  29. 15/08 14:38

    ENFIA property tax bills to be posted on Taxisnet in Greece by August 31

  30. 14/08 17:00

    Greek flight safety expert to win sector's top international distinction

  31. 14/08 16:14

    Urgent measures to reduce flight delays at airports in Greece during peak season

  32. 14/08 15:22

    Passenger traffic in Greek airports soars 4.7% during first seven months of 2019

  33. 14/08 13:29

    Two ferries to arrive at Greek island of Samothrace on Wednesday

  34. 14/08 11:07

    Strong winds to temporarily subside in Greece

  35. 13/08 22:01

    AP: Kevin Spacey offers poetic tribute to Greek statue at Rome Museum (video)

  36. 13/08 21:56

    Greek Culture Minister meets with Chinese Ambassador to Athens Zhang Qiyue

  37. 13/08 21:56

    Two Greek beaches among world's top-50

  38. 13/08 17:24

    Media report: Secret ‘rooftop beach’ opens in the heart of Athens

  39. 13/08 13:13

    Visitors and revenues of Greek museums and ancient sites rise in April 2019

  40. 13/08 11:31

    Wildfire raging on Evia creates smoke cloud visible from Attica

  41. 13/08 09:42

    Schinias and Marathonas beaches out of bounds in Attica on Tuesday

  42. 12/08 19:28

    US Ambassador welcomes NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in Athens

  43. 12/08 18:52

    Mayor: Elafonissos island in Greece is a safe tourist destination

  44. 12/08 18:42

    Full moon events at archaeological sites in Greece to conclude Sunday

  45. 12/08 17:59

    Unique intact Hellenistic tomb found in Kozani of northern Greece

  46. 12/08 17:34

    Minister Theocharis: New strategic plan for the development of Greek tourism

  47. 12/08 14:24

    Wildfire on Mount Hymettus of Attica Region under total control

  48. 11/08 22:18

    Perseid meteor shower to peak on Greek sky on Monday

  49. 11/08 22:13

    Greek Prime Minsiter calls for shipowners to register their fleets locally

  50. 11/08 22:06

    Temperatures up to 40C to continue across Greece on Monday

  51. 11/08 22:01

    Building permits in Cyprus record big annual rise during first five months

  52. 11/08 21:47

    Greek island of Santorini becomes a global destination for parkour (videos)

  53. 11/08 21:29

    "Snakes of Virgin Mary" appear again in Greek island of Kefalonia (video)

  54. 10/08 18:32

    Media report: Roofless room in Greek island of Crete available on Airbnb

  55. 10/08 17:52

    First traditional Greek ‘Kafeneion’ opens up in the heart of Paris

  56. 09/08 21:03

    Fifth annual Molyvos International Music Festival opens in Lesvos

  57. 09/08 18:21

    Interest grows for 'last chance' debt settlement scheme in Greece

  58. 09/08 18:15

    French Finance Minister Le Maire meets with Greek officials in Athens

  59. 09/08 17:58

    Global Health Tourism figures honored in Ithaca, the island of Odysseus in Greece

  60. 09/08 17:53

    Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew wins 2019 ECOS Environmental Award (video)

  61. 09/08 17:48

    New PM reaffirms commitment Eldorado Gold's investment in Greece to proceed

  62. 09/08 17:41

    Window on Greek olive oil world marks 3rd anniversary

  63. 09/08 17:26

    Greek Minister visits beach for persons with disabilities in Voula suburb of Athens

  64. 09/08 16:43

    Greek Minister: Decisions unlocking Elliniko development project within August

  65. 09/08 16:36

    Turkish Rixos Hotels to operate all-inclusive resort on Red Sea Riviera

  66. 09/08 16:32

    Greek government abolishes 'written justification' clause by employers for firings

  67. 09/08 14:53

    Popular Chinese Travel Show films on Greek Islands of Santorini and Kefalonia

  68. 09/08 14:12

    Renowned Greek sculptor Takis passes at the age of 94

  69. 09/08 12:48

    Exquisite Classical Era grave steles discoverd at cemetery on Greek island of Tinos

  70. 09/08 10:16

    Athens city opens eight airconditioned spaces on Saturday due to heatwave

  71. 08/08 21:35

    Greek Health Minister meets British ambassador to Athens Kate Smith

  72. 08/08 20:49

    Law on return of critical executive powers to mayors passed by Greek Parliament

  73. 08/08 19:31

    Cyprus Antiquities Department on collapse of Venetian Walls in Nicosia

  74. 08/08 18:23

    British travel series comedy ‘The Trip’ comes to Greece

  75. 08/08 18:01

    Parliament Budget Office: Improvement in liquidity for Greece's four systemic banks

  76. 08/08 17:57

    ”Taste of the Danforth” Street Festival in Toronto’s Greektown on August 9-11 (video)

  77. 08/08 17:23

    Athens municipality and government discuss major upgrades in Greek capital

  78. 08/08 17:14

    1st Energy Ministerial Meeting in Athens promotes environmental co-operation

  79. 08/08 13:58

    Concession agreement for marina on Greek island of Chios signed

  80. 08/08 12:49

    Greek shipping expands dominance in European Union and the world

  81. 08/08 10:17

    New 6th century BC finds by excavation works on Despotiko island in Greece

  82. 08/08 00:49

    New York City Greek Film Festival to take place between October 17-23

  83. 07/08 22:42

    Report: How Airbnb fared against top hotel chains, Marriott, Hilton and Intercontinental

  84. 07/08 22:39

    New York Euripides Summer Festival presents "Iphigenia among the Taurians"

  85. 07/08 22:16

    Enaleia: First Professional Fishing School in Greece supported by THI grant

  86. 07/08 22:05

    The Ethnological Museum of Cyprus will be closed due to conservation works

  87. 07/08 21:21

    Tom Hanks finds 'perfect car' during August vacation in Greece

  88. 07/08 18:43

    Greece moving to end long airport delays at popular tourism spots

  89. 07/08 18:16

    IATA: Air freight drops for eighth consecutive month

  90. 07/08 15:17

    Greece ranks 26th globally in water scarcity issues

  91. 07/08 13:58

    Greek Prime Minister Mitsotakis meets Patriarch of Alexandria Theodoros II

  92. 07/08 11:45

    Deputy FM for expats says Greeks in Australia a government priority

  93. 07/08 00:32

    Booking.com: Gen Z second most likely generation to volunteer when travelling

  94. 06/08 19:20

    Qatar's traditional sailboat 'Al Mubaraki' to dock at Piraeus Marina Zeas on Wednesday

  95. 06/08 17:50

    Ancient Greeks may have guided creation of China’s Terracotta Army (video)

  96. 06/08 17:28

    Greek PM Mitsotakis meets with chief of Orascom Group Naguib Sawiris

  97. 06/08 16:57

    Greek olive oil effective in the management of diabetes

  98. 06/08 13:43

    Greek Energy Minister meets US Assistant Secretary for Energy in Athens

  99. 06/08 10:08

    Greek Hoteliers Federation chief: 10%-15% drop in overnight stay rates during 2019

  100. 05/08 17:47

    Tax registry system to connect with police ID registry in Greece as of Wednesday