Local produce from Ikaria – and how they found their way to Brussels
Ikaria is well known for the high quality of its local produce. Among many others, the honey, the wine, the “sweet spoon” (glyko), sea-fennel (kritamo) and herbs are of outstanding quality.
Some of the Ikarian produce have found their way to the global market, but only few were known in Brussels. On that background it was clear for us that „Friends of Ikaria“ would take the initiative to promote local Ikarian produce at our events.
Since the very beginning, Ikarian wine was an important ingredient of our panigyris. So far we have bought wine from the following Ikarian wine-makers: Karimalis, Afianes and Tsantiris. Not only did we serve it at the panigyris, but we also sold bottles after the events at a slightly higher price; the difference in price being a small additional income for our association.
We also bought other Ikarian produce: honey (Karimalis), “glyko” (Teskos), herbs/tea (Throubi), kritamo (Trikiriotis)– and they received a good response on the Brussels market. Recently we were also able to add the new Ikarian beer, the “Ikariotissa”, which got its fans in the „beer country“ of Belgium.
We are trying various ways of selling local produce: at our events and sometimes we even delivered them to the doorsteps of our customers. In 2019 we were invited by A Discovering Network, a Brussels based network promoting Greek products, to participate in the “the feast of the bread” – an event that is taking place on an annual basis in the very heart of the European quarter and which is attracting several hundred people. It was a great pleasure for us to present the Ikarian produce and to promote the island.
Since 2020 we have been very limited in our activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic and we have had to look for new ways to sell Ikarian produce. With the support of “Throubi”, the shop selling local Ikarian produce in Agios Kirikos we managed to organise a Christmas project in 2021: Christmas bags with Ikarian goodies for clients in Brussels. We were able to sell 20 “Christmas bags” at the price of 35 EUR (25 EUR for the local producers and 10 EUR for the association “Friends of Ikaria”). The bags contained a bottle of red wine (Tsantiris), ½ kg of honey (Karimalis), 4 different types of tea and herbs.
We hope to find more ways to sell again a broader selection of Ikarian produce in Brussels.
Total income 2021: 200,- EUR (we will use this money to contribute again in 2022 to the project “Cleaning and making of the hiking paths on Ikaria“)
Since 2015 we have bought more than 5,500 EUR worth of produce from Ikaria, supporting the local producers and the economy with the income from our events. Yet it is not our primary intention to sell local produce and to spend the income from our events for buying and selling them. Taking into account our limited financial and personal resources, we need to think about how we can continue to promote Ikarian produce thus supporting the local economy.