For an olive oil producer in Lesbos, Greece in the throes of the Greek economic crisis the choice was clear: Either sell the family’s olive trees or add value by focusing on quality.
Myrta Kalampoka said she and her husband, Nikos, worked as teachers and part-time olive oil producers when the economy tanked and their salaries were halved. Kalampoka told Public Radio International (PRI) reporter Daniella Cheslow that it was then that she decided to set out to craft one of the world’s best olive oils.
After visiting the farmer last summer, Cheslow was at the 2017 New York International Olive Oil Competition to cap her profile of Kalampoka, the producer of the Eirini Plomariou olive oil brand for PRI’s The World program, a global news radio, audio and multi-platform program with the goal of “bringing international journalism that illuminates the world to US listeners.”
PRI currently distributes the show to more than 280 public radio stations across the United States, according to its website.
The Kalampoka family did it again, earning a Silver Award when the winners were revealed at the April 27 event — the company’s third straight win at the world’s largest olive oil competition.
Kalampoka said she was grateful to make a living, Cheslow reported, when so many Greeks had no salary at all.
“What we have is only the quality of our olive oil,” Kalampoka said. “If it was not that, I couldn’t stay in Greece.”