Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Post-crisis Greece

The original article, entitled "The other Greece", was published in Greek in ToVima: http://www.tovima.gr/opinions/article/?aid=536722It shows just how connected Greek food is with the Greek economy and Greek politics.

In the geothermal fields of Drama, small and large domestic investors exploit the underground hot water springs and either cultivate early asparagus or create modern greenhouses, with zero energy costs, producing colorful peppers, tasty tomatoes and delicious vegetables throughout the year, enjoying much better prices than usual. In the same geothermal zone. modern processors of edible olives dehydrate them in special driers using hot water, to create sweet, delicious Thassos throumbes olives (a very popular variety of table olive in Greece) that are free from salt and are exported to the demanding markets of the industrialized world.

In Serres, Veria, new cooperatives and producer groups for pomegranates and peaches are now reaping the benefits of contract farming. The sales from production are guaranteed, the price agreed in advance and, most importantly, funding for tree crops is secured by deposits at the beginning of the growing season. More and more farmers are now working under contract farming schemes.

Further south, some miles from the coast of Pieria, in the depths of the Thermaikos gulf, in specially demarcated maritime zones, new mussel farmers deploy ropes where impressive colonies of mussels are developed. Shellfish in the colder open sea grow more easily, they are cleaner and tastier, making gains in the international markets.

In Magnesia, groups associated with livestock farmers and feed processors who are now all online either place the actual day's milk for sale on the market or produce traditional yogurt, soon made available by major food chains.

In the Ionian sea, in the respective deep fish farming zones, uncontaminated fish is being raised in concrete cages with controlled feed through sensitive tubes. The fish learn to tweak the pipes which respond by releasing a controlled amount of food, without waste and pollution. The results here are impressive, with high fish populations, and they cost less.

In the confined livestock areas of Arcadia, the possibilities of goat milk are being discovered, and the many product options are exploited which have aroused the interest of French processors, who promote investment of 20 million euro to produce unfermented goat cheese.

Specific cultivation zones are being prepared by Agriculture Minister A. Tsaftaris for the Peloponnese oranges and lemons, looking for ways to enhance the flowering groves to increase production and to counter the reduced spring pollination observed in recent years due to temperature increase.

Respectively in the arid far south of Crete, the best choice is now the cactus plant aloe vera.  Approximately 2,500 acres of aloe are grown there and a manufacturing plant is being prepared to produce new products from its extracts, which are used by the rapidly growing global industry of cosmetics and female beauty.

Conversing with the most qualified minister in the Samaras government, Mr. A. Tsaftaris fills you with optimism as he believes that in those outposts, there stands another Greece, one of modern production and innovation, which has nothing to do with the misery of the crowded urban centres.

Post-crisis Greece: did I really write that? 

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