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  • Making sun-dried tomatoes

  • takes patience and skill.

  • And it's even harder to grow them.

  • The soil of Santorini in Greece is arid,

  • volcanic, and difficult to farm,

  • but that's part of the island chain's beauty,

  • to agronomist Petros Oikonomou.

  • Farms like his used to supply

  • several local tomato paste factories,

  • but an earthquake in 1956 destroyed

  • so much of the island that the industry never recovered.

  • Tourism overtook agriculture as the driver

  • of the local economy in the 20th century.

  • But Petros has dedicated more than 20 years

  • to reviving Santorini's tomato crop.

  • He studied these historical growing methods

  • and combined his passions for farming and education

  • into an agritourism business.

  • It's called Anydro, which means ...

  • Without water.

  • This is because he doesn't use

  • traditional irrigation to grow the produce on his farm.

  • Instead, he plants the seeds directly

  • into the pumice stone soil that stays moist

  • from just humidity and dew.

  • Petros sows the tomato seeds in February

  • and harvests them four months later.

  • He handpicks them, since the plants grow bushy

  • and close to the ground.

  • He's only able to harvest about 200 kilos per acre.

  • Petros also grows other local heritage crops,

  • such as the melon-like zucchini,

  • white eggplants,

  • and a type of yellow bean that he mills by hand.

  • But the tomatoes are still Anydro's focus.

  • Petros uses them to make jars

  • of the famous Santorini tomato paste.

  • And sun-dried tomatoes.

  • He sells these jars for 8 euros each,

  • and they're shipped all over Greece.

  • His main clients are the visitors

  • that come to the Anydro tours.

  • Three years ago, Petros started offering cooking classes

  • for those who wanted to go off the beaten path

  • to learn more about the rural landscape

  • and its unique crops.

  • In 2019, Anydro had 500 visitors,

  • and he was expecting double that this year.

  • The coronavirus restrictions meant significantly

  • fewer tourists came to Santorini over the summer.

  • Petros has managed to keep

  • a sense of humor about it, though.

  • Overall, he sees a silver lining

  • in the pandemic.

  • His farm took a hit,

  • but it isn't his only income.

  • He teaches agronomy at the local technical school

  • and hopes for better years.

Making sun-dried tomatoes

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B1 santorini tomato tomato paste local farm soil

This Man Is Saving Santorini's Heritage Tomatoes

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/11/23
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