This Small but Mighty Producer Takes a Traditional Cretan Variety to New Heights

We aimed to produce extra virgin olive oil from the ancient Tsounati variety that would be of comparable quality to the great oils we tasted in other places,” he added.

The olive groves of Silvergreen lie close to the coastal city of Rethymnon in Crete. They mainly comprise olive trees of the Tsounati variety, one of the oldest olive cultivars on the island.

“Tsounati is considered the most traditional olive variety of Crete,” Vantarakis said. “The Tsounati trees are quite different from the more widespread Koroneiki trees. Their leaves are lighter green, their crown is more irregular and their drupes are bigger and quite delicate, being unforgiving to mistakes during processing.”

“Being a demanding variety when it comes to growing, many Tsounati trees on the island have been replaced by trees of the Koroneiki variety, an easier-to-grow and more predictable olive cultivar,” he added.

Vantarakis pointed out that the indigenous Cretan olive cultivars are perfectly adapted to the island’s microclimate, shaped by the island’s intense relief and the combined influence of the sea and the mountains.

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