The "Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms" in Sparta, Laconia is the definition of the well-known term abroad, Single Estate organic producer, but in a specific Terroir and with methods that combine the special flavors of the place, always keeping their identity, the Greek element and the timeless tasting tradition of the place.
From 2012 until today, "Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms" were honored in the largest, most recognized and prestigious competitions in the world, with 203 international awards, a world record number for a producer who cultivates, produces and packages exclusively his own organic olive products.
The 203 international awards are a passport, but also a guarantee of high quality for the markets and consumers abroad, where they are mainly addressed.
It is a seal of superior taste that is now recognized worldwide, from Japan to the USA. George Sakellaropoulos spoke to ANA-MPA about the new awards and the goal of the company.
When and how did you decide to get involved in organic farming? How difficult was this task?
We consciously decided to engage in organic farming, knowing the benefits it entails for the environment, but also for human health. We started in 1992, when organic farming was completely unknown in Greece at that time. We chose our place, Sparta, Laconia, where the conditions are ideal for olive growing.
Our goal has never been to produce huge quantities of olive oil and olives.
From the beginning, we trained and then we decided that the only way for us is to produce certified organic limited edition organic oil products, with identity and added value, which are classified as functional foods.
It is a difficult road as it requires know-how, training and long testing periods. The international competition is also huge, coming from more than 40 major oil-producing countries.
Throughout the past 28 years we persisted, we believed in our goal, which is none other than achieving high quality.
You have set a world record at international awards. What does it mean for you?
We had not participated in international competitions before 2012, ie 20 years after the start of all this effort, as we first wanted to reach a top level of quality and tasting characteristics of our specialized organic oil products
The competition and the degree of difficulty that we encountered from 2012 until today is huge from the international "giants" of olive growing. There, the slightest defect is not forgiven by the special judges.
For this reason, the first 20 years of preparation, development and especially self-improvement were required, in order to be able to compete in these huge markets in taste and quality, as quantity is impossible.
Which of your international awards would you consider special for you and for what reason?
It is a very difficult question and definitely my answer is every next international award. What has not yet come. I believe this because I believe that the greatest reward is the journey that takes place until we reach a great award, which can have a duration of trials and experiments of two, three or even four years. This path is this great prize and what it teaches you.
I believe that our awards have confirmed that we are on the right path, with respect and humility, in the sacred olive tree, in the environment and in everything that we add to the Greek organic olive growing.
So if I could single one out, it would be our first prize, with the "Telies" olives and the Double Golden Star at the Great Taste Awards in London in 2012 - the so-called Oscars of taste - among 10,000 quality foods from around the world.
Also, the great and unique distinction of the 2nd place in the world in 2017 for our gourmet olive oil "Syllektikon", while special mention must be given to the same olive oil, for the distinction with which it was honored in London in 2019, the rare distinction of 3 gold stars among 12,772 quality foods at the Great Taste Awards.
The climax of course of all these global awards of taste and quality came in 2018 and 2019, where our two different multivarietal extra virgin organic gourmet olive oils, Majestic blend evoo and Gemstone blend evoo, were honored for two consecutive years, with 1st place in WREVOO world ranking of olive oils, with a new record in their category.
Tell us about your organic products. What would you describe as your most innovative products ?
Our olive products are many but if I had to single out a few I would tell you the organic FYLLIKON First Harvest limited edition, the cold extracted AGOURELAIO Early Harvest evoo, the extra virgin monovarietal olive oils, the flavored Premium and Gourmet olive oils.
Also, our organic and gourmet olives, Kalamata and green olives that are naturally fermented, with minimal salt, without chemicals and preservatives but also without pasteurization.
All the organic olive oils and olives that we produce are purely innovative with their predominant point of simplicity and pluralism in their taste, reminiscent of forgotten times.
Several studies show the many benefits of olive and olive oil to human health. Do you participate in such surveys with your products?
Scientific research and collaborations with researchers and universities are the core and cornerstone of our olive groves.
Today, our organic olive oils are being used in the three-year Mediterranean Intervention Study, conducted by Harvard University and the School of Public Health, on the daily diet of 1,000 volunteer firefighters at 44 fire stations in the United States.
Its purpose is to show that by changing the eating habits of groups of people at high risk of disease and especially heart attacks while performing their work, such as firefighters, this risk can be reduced to extremely high rates.
Also important is the clinical study carried out by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where our table olives participated.
The study showed that they had on average 5 times more tyrosol and hydroxytyrosol (powerful natural antioxidants) than the other types of olives tested in the laboratory.
The results were announced at the world conference of the Oleocanthal International Society, in Olympia in 2016.
You also produce natural cosmetics, what do we need to know about them?
Our natural cosmetics were created based on the need to turn to nature for the care, treatment and protection of the face and body.
These are 100% Greek natural cosmetics with cold extracted organic olive oil and St. John's Wort oil, with all the European certifications of legal circulation and complete dermatological tests.
Our cosmetics are released under the brand name Esthique Natural Cosmetics.
What are your next goals?
Our goal for the coming years is the continuation and development of the production of organic olive products of high health value with innovation and added value. At the same time, the expansion of the recognition of the brand name "Sakellaropoulos Organic Farms" by consumers internationally, but also the securing of more important markets abroad, with stable and mutual collaborations and of course to see our country continue to be at the top places in international competitions.