“Extra Virgin Olive Oil is not a luxury, or at least it shouldn't be”, Demetris Taliotis, ARTOLIO beneficiary from Cyprus
When thinking about the production of olive oil there is the modern notion of exporting to other countries but, at the very core of olive oil production, there has always been a sense of identity, an underline that speaks of culture. Local market has always been a fundamental pillar in the sector, providing farmers with consumers that were known to them, and consumers with the knowledge that the oil they used to cook came from their own land. Dimitris Taliotis, beneficiary of ARTOLIO from the Cyprus region, believes in this inherently identity that follows the olive oil tradition and has centered his whole work philosophy around the idea that olive oil is a culture product, something that must be preserved.
“If you go to a supermarket in the UK, you will find more options in the shelves than in any supermarket of Cyprus, despite the UK not being an olive oil producer country. My dream is to see Cyprus shelves full of oil produced in our lands, something that would be inherently ours.” Demetris and his brand, Aparthenasa, sell extra virgin olive oil locally, with the purpose of enriching the local market of Cyprus. Coming from a non-traditional farming family, Demetris started off his work career in the marketing field, but somehow all his projects centered around the topic of food and that is how he discovered his interest in olive oil. After a while, he and his wife decided to educate themselves in the nurturing of olive trees and purchased an abandoned olive grove to start his journey as a farmer.
ARTOLIO helped Demetris with his new project by installing a much needed high end irrigation system, but if there is anything he appreciates from this project is the farming community that has originated in Cyprus due to the involvement in the project. “There is a sense of comfort in what I am doing now, and I feel very supported by my partners. When my grove burned down last year, they helped me when I most needed it, and I am grateful for that.”
Demetris will continue to dedicate his efforts into recuperating from the fires that took his groves while also contributing to the local market of his area, because, in his mind, the high quality, expensive and luxurious olive oil that has been selling nowadays forgets about the culture it originates from, and distances the traditional customer from the product: “Extra virgin olive oil is not a luxury, or at least it shouldn’t be.”