Ionian islands may very soon overtake Tuscany as an agrotourism destination

What is it about the Ionian islands that makes them so special? Is it the sun, the endless sandy beaches, or is it the Venetian influence architecture that attracts the millions of tourists? The Ionian Sea lies between Greece and Italy. From here the ancient Hellenes began their journeys west to modern day Sicily where they settled from 750BC and planted olive trees and spread to the southern Italy; it came to be called Magna Graecia and is where the modern day western name of Greece originated.

In the city of Sybaris 500BC the first “patent” was granted to a chef after he won a cooking competition. He was given exclusive rights to prepare the recipe for a year. This is the first instance of patents rights being granted. It was for a recipe. Sicily was a very fertile land and the olive trees thrived here and the city of Sybaris grew wealthy. There are two Ionian islands that are reviving the high phenolic EVOO of ancient times that brought wealth and power to Southern Italy. Kerkyra (Corfu) to the north and Zakynthos (Zanta) to the south.

In Kerkyra the Dafnis family almost singlehanded were able to raise the quality of the local olive oil production to international renown. Kerkyra is an island filled with a canopy of Lianolia olive trees that grow to an unbelievable height of over 20 metres. The difficulty of picking them early was overcome by using a hydraulic mechanical arm mounted on a tractor that could reach up and grab the big branches and shake the olives loose. They were astonished when their olive oil was found to contain large concentrations of oleocanthal. Almost overnight the Dafnis family created a world recognized EVOO that is being used in Alzheimer research and other medical research.

They have expanded their facility to draw visitors to their olive mills for day outings from the many cruise ships that dock in the main port and they also have built villas to accommodate overnight guests. They are ready for the health-conscious travellers seeking to know where this exceptional olive oil is produced. Kerkyra with over 4 million olive trees is a green gold mine waiting to be developed. With its endless sandy beaches and beautiful mountains Kerkyra may soon rival Toscany as an agrotourism destination to taste this health promoting EVOO recently discovered. With over 1 million tourists visiting who year they will need to dramatically increase their production to meet the demand.

Tasos Dafnis under a 25 metre tall olive tree in Corfu

On the southern Ionian Sea we meet Dimitri Therianos an energetic host and a committed organizer seeking to transform Zakynthos into an organic produce oasis of a center for agrotoursim.

The Oleocanthal International Society visits the Therianos Family farm

The Therianos family is truly a family business with the mother and all the siblings getting in on the act to welcome and entertain the guests in their guest houses in the middle of the vineyard and olive trees. Their business has taken off since they discovered they were actually producing high phenolic EVOO.

The olive oil is made from a local variety Dopia (local) similar to the Lianolia found in Kerkyra. The trees here are not allowed to grow tall so they can be harvested by hand. Their high phenolic EVOO is sold out every year since the news of its phenolic content became known. Their example is inspiring others on the island to shift their production methods and achieve similar results.

Honorary high phenolic awards

Honourary Gold — The Governor Corfu Dafnis family (traditional) Lianolia variety — 1210mg per kg of total phenols

Honourary Gold — “Theta” Therianos Family Zakynthos (organic) Dopia variety — 1163mg per kg of total phenols

Honourary Silver — OLEA BLUE Zakynthos (organic) Dopia variety — 1144mg per kg of total phenols

There are 5 more Ionian islands just waitng to be discovered that are also home to high phenolic EVOOs: Paxos, Lefkada, Ithaki. Kefalonia, and Kythira

Buy with confidence buy High Phenolic EVOO for your health and welbeing

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