`Greece's Backroad 'Bulk' Olive Oil Trade - Olive Oil Times

Greece's Backroad 'Bulk' Olive Oil Trade

Apr. 23, 2012
Marissa Tejada

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300 liters or nearly 80 gal­lons. That’s the most home­made olive oil one Greek fam­ily bought at once from Yiannis and Mina Roboras, who have been pro­duc­ing their own olive oil in the Peloponnese region of Greece for more than 20 years.

It a long fam­ily tra­di­tion,” Mina says proudly. Our olive oil is spe­cial because our moun­tains haven’t been spoiled by indus­tri­al­iza­tion as other areas have. Our olive oil is 100 per­cent pure and we think — bet­ter qual­ity than in the stores.”

The Robaras’ live in the sleepy vil­lage of Klimendi, high in the moun­tains of Korinth. They describe their vil­lage as old but beau­ti­ful” with its tra­di­tional stone houses, rolling moun­tains cov­ered with olive and man­darin trees and white and red grapes which they also har­vest to pro­duce wine and sul­tanas.

The Robaras’ adver­tise their olive oil as rich green in color and sell it in 17 kilo­gram or 37.5 pound tanks. The tanks, which are large and rec­tan­gu­lar in shape are a com­mon find in the aver­age house­hold in Greece, where olive oil con­sump­tion is the high­est in the world.

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It’s cheaper to buy in bulk than in small sizes at the super­mar­ket where one liter might only last you only a week at up to twelve euros, depend­ing on qual­ity,” says Yiannis, explain­ing why the alu­minum tanks are so pop­u­lar.

The Robaras’ describe their clients as friends, friends of friends, neigh­bors and rel­a­tives. Sometimes they sell their olive oil at local fresh pro­duce fairs. They say a 17 kilo­gram tank, which sells for 65 euro, will last a Greek fam­ily for up to six months.

Olive oil is an absolute neces­sity and it’s very impor­tant to us Greeks. It is part of our cul­ture and we use it for all cook­ing and some­times for mois­tur­izer on our skin and hands. It is con­sid­ered a gift from the Gods,” says Mina.

Christos Peroukaneas, also pro­duces olive oil from his family’s land. From his expe­ri­ence he says a 17 kilo­gram tank can last as lit­tle as three months for an aver­age Greek fam­ily.

They are pop­u­lar because we Greeks use olive oil for cook­ing absolutely every­thing and the tins are sim­ply eas­ier to trans­port. Although, I believe the oil should be poured into shaded glass bot­tles when they make it home and stored that way for the best result,” says Peroukaneas whose olive trees grow in Mani, another famous olive oil pro­duc­ing region in the Peloponnese region of the coun­try.

Peroukaneas began trav­el­ing from Athens to his vil­lage, Germa, nearly a decade ago to actively be involved dur­ing har­vest sea­son. Since sev­eral wild­fires destroyed some of the trees which have been in the fam­ily for more than 300 years, he’s only man­aged to pro­duce about two tons each year, half of what he’s capa­ble of pro­duc­ing.

He says the money his fam­ily makes from the olive oil is just sup­ple­men­tary income and not some­thing they can rely on but every sea­son he looks for­ward to har­vest­ing and pro­duc­ing what he can from his grove, sim­ply because he loves pro­duc­ing and sell­ing some­thing dear to his fam­ily and dear to his coun­try.

In the end it’s so sat­is­fac­tory to cre­ate good food that is part of a yearly effort and a result of full team­work. Olive oil is a prod­uct that means so much to a Greek fam­ily and so much to Greece in so many ways.”

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