By William Dachris
Sakellaropoulos Organic Farming is a long-standing producer of certified organic extra virgin olive oils and organic gourmet Kalamata olives in Peloponnese. Their olive groves are situated near Sparta, Lakonia, in an area where olive oil culture is predominant and where the olive tree is considered sacred. This area is famous for its ideal weather conditions and the exceptional natural environment (PGI - Protected geographical indication).
The organic farming practices are certified by BIO – HELLAS and according to all European regulations regarding organic farming and in accordance to ISO standards. They have won over 500 international quality and taste awards and numerous of their products feature in the top 10 in all categories worldwide, including the top spot for flavoured EVOO Syllektikon at Great Taste Awards 2019 in London, the Early Harvest Agourelaio and the No1 flavoured EVOO Gemstone at EVOO World Ranking.
We interviewed the founder George Sakellaropoulos to find out more about their success story and passion for producing the highest quality products.
Tell us about Sakellaropoulos Organic Farming?
Our story begins in 1992. That is when we started to plant our olive trees, organically, by conscious choice, the Koroneiki variety olives for the production of olive oil and the Kalamata olives for the production of table olives. Nevertheless, our restless spirit and our love for what we do, did not leave us at a standstill. We wanted to offer more to the olive oil industry and to our customers and so we decided to take it one step further and produce bio-functional products. We searched, analysed, took action and finally achieved it since we were one of the pioneers who received certification for our organic cultivation in Greece and our products have participated in a plethora of studies (including Harvard and Yale Universities) on human health due to their high health beneficial properties. Our mindset led us to create an award winning, single estate family owned company, while that which makes us stand out is our passion for our constant quest for perfection and innovation.
What's the outlook on extra virgin olive oil?
After an entire year of proper nurturing our olive trees, scientific monitoring of the progress during the production, hours of walking around our fields tending to every need of our trees, we have started picking our olives and producing our unripe olive oils starting a month ago. The first olive oils and analysis indicate that our groves are ready to produce the highest quality olives they can provide.
What makes Sakellaropoulos products the most awarded in Greece?
With a few words : attention to detail. We use sophisticated scientific equipment, monitoring our products every step of the way, from the tree to the table. We use only natural fermentation and no pasteurization, thus enabling the healthy elements to remain in the table olives, giving them superb taste and huge concentrations of health beneficiary ingredients. We also specialise in the production of organic olive oil, with unique characteristics and certain production procedure (extremely low extraction temperatures, certified organic cultivation etc.). Finally, our never ending search for perfecting our products, via scientific training, monitoring and countless hours of studying and experimenting, give us our innovative edge.
What are your plans for the future?
Our plans for the future are to continue producing even more innovative, high quality organic olive oils and olives, that belong to the category of Greek – functional products that help improve the consumer's health. Olive oil products, with identity and value that belong to the category of organic functional products.
What would the top 3 things you'd advice consumers on olive oil?
1) Taste. Your taste is one of the best factors on deciding which olive oil is good. If an olive oil feels a bit “off” to your taste, it usually has a defect or is of lesser quality. If it feels grassy, fresh, healthy and reminds you of the natural smell of an olive grove, it usually is really good.
2) Research. Check who produces the olive oil you are about to buy. Is it a single estate product (from 1 farm) or is it just sold around until someone packages it? Do you feel comfortable trusting the producer of the olive oil, or do you have significant concerns regarding its origin and treatment? These factors are really important in buying not only olive oil, but any food.
3) Pay attention to details. You can check if the olive oil has received any awards for its quality and taste from international competitions Also, a really good indicator is if an olive oil has participated in any research or clinical trials on human health, which gives you a certainty that the olive oil is of the highest quality.