In whichever part of Messinia you may be, you will observe the love of Messinians for the olive tree. They love it, they praise it and it rewards them by offering world-renowned olive oil of excellent taste and unique quality. The olive oil of Messinia is a natural product derived from olive pressing, without other extracts or additives. It is a gift of great biological and pharmaceutical value, offered by nature and produced with dedication. It is tasty, of low acidity (0.2-1), easy to digest and assimilated by the body up to 98%. It is bottled by businesses with great experience in the sector, which respect both tradition and their customers. It is believed that olive oil protects the heart, contributes to the good operation of many organs, is beneficial in the fight against many diseases and has a preventive action against many forms of cancer.
Wine is the necessary supplement of the Mediterranean diet, it is exceptionally beneficial when moderately consumed, is considered to protect from heart diseases and has strong anticarcinogenic properties. In addition to its health benefits, wine is part of the traditions of Messinia, as reveal by archaeological research, which has shown that viticulture has been known in the area for thousands of years. Nowadays, this century long tradition, combined to the care of Messinian producers and the ideal climate of the area, produces grapes of excellent quality and, with the assistance of technology yields select wines. Local wines have excellent organoleptic properties, fruity aromas, full flavour and vivid colour. Whether white (Roditis, Fileri, Assyrtiko, Chardonnay) or red (Fokiano, Mandilaria, Carignan, Cabernet, Chauvignon) they are all excellent and worth tasting. Currently, approximately 2000 people are involved in viticulture and 34000 tons of grapes are picked, out of which 27000 tons of wine are produced.
Grapes are the gift of Dionysus, the god who taught people the joys of life. Messinia has always been an ideal place for their cultivation, which is why its grapes stand out among those of other areas, for their aroma and taste, and are currently considered ideal for a balanced diet. This tasty, ancient fruit offers a multitude of trace elements, necessary for the correct functioning of the body. The substances contained in its skin, are considered antioxidants (hence anticarcinogenic), which further justifies their characterization as a divine gift.
Viticulture was common in Messinia ever since the time of Homer, while in the years that followed, black Corinthian raisin was one of the main agricultural products in the area and the driving force of its economy. The desire to consume, all year round, this valuable gift nature offers in the summer, lead to them being naturally dried under the sun of Messinia and then, after a meticulous process of selection being packed using contemporary machines; they reach customers pure and preserving the aroma and taste of fresh grapes. In addition to being delightfully tasty, raisins, whatever form they may be consumed in, plain or in sweets, are a rich source of trace elements, minerals and vitamins. Nowadays, many farmers in Messinia are still involved in the cultivation of Corinthian raisins. Approximately 45km2 are cultivated and 10000 tons are produced annually. Raisins are processed in modern units in Kalamata, and are packed and exported to many countries.
Whether fresh or dried, the figs of Messinia are among the most renowned natural and tasty delights, and are interwoven with the area. Tasty, nutritious and healthy, dried figs are naturally dried in the sun without any chemical additive. They are a source of energy for the human body, thanks to their high content in minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and iron, as well as natural fibres, which make it sought-after and irreplaceable. Their unique taste, their great nutritional value and their purity make them a popular fruit and an important commodity. In Messinia, 5000 people are involved in fig processing and packing, which performed under the most appropriate specifications of technology and hygiene. Cultivation lasts 7 months (from April to October) and harvest is from August to October. The annual production in Messinia currently reaches approximately 4000 tons, and the main countries to which figs are exported are, Canada, Australia, the USA and various countries of Europe.
OTHER FRUIT OF MESSINIA
Messinians take pride in proclaiming: “there is no fruit that is not produced here!”, and with good reason. Citrus fruits, the present of Gaia, at the wedding of Zeus and Hera, the divine gifts kept away from people in the Garden of Hesperides, nowadays are widely cultivated around Messinia. Oranges, tangerines, lemons…, as well as all other fruits of the Mediterranean, such as watermelons, melons, even prickly pears, grow in different seasons and enrich the life and the table of Messinians all year round, offering an ideal nutritional supplement.
AROMATIC PLANTS AND HERBS
Nature has generously offered them to Messinia. Botanical studies have proven that Mount Taygetus is one of the richest and most interesting ecosystems in Europe, home to a large number of native plants, in other words plants that only grow there. Doctors of antiquity considered them beneficial for the treatment and prevention of many diseases, while at present they serve as raw material in pharmaceutics. Balsam was to relieve pain, scented oregano for the food and herbal mountain tea for those cold winter days. Nowadays, a wide selection of those little wonders of nature are available in the markets of Messinia, in their natural state, without any chemical or other processing, maintaining all their natural aroma and amazing properties, among which their antioxidant action.
Known since antiquity, honey is the transformation of the quintessence of plants, herbs and flowers, into this thick “gold” containing 182 substances, such as vitamins, amino-acids, enzymes, minerals, etc. The honey of Messinia is 100% natural and is produced in areas rich in endemic and aromatic plants. It is easily assimilated by the body, without putting stress on it, has antibacterial and heart-nourishing action, contributes to lowering blood pressure, treats indigestion, ulcer, etc. This remedy offered by the land of Messinia is beneficial, but not fattening, as one small spoonful only contains 20 calories!
VEGETABLES AND POTATOES
Profiting from ideal cultivation conditions and with the sun as their ally, Messinian producers grow and offer consumers exceptional agricultural products. Tasty, juicy tomatoes, crunchy cucumber, zucchini and delicious fresh beans are only part of what the land of Messinia so generously offers. The potatoes of Messinia are equally tasty and have younger and older fans who even organize celebrations in its honour! Its cultivation begins in December and it is harvested from March to June. Approximately 700 families are involved in its cultivation and the annual production is approximately 38000 tons.