The Cretan Producer Who Leaves Nothing to Chance

Countless olive trees stretch into the distance on Crete, the largest Greek island and heart of the country’s olive oil industry, accounting for one-third of the country’s total olive oil production. 

In Kolymvari, on the western side of the island just a few kilometers away from Chania, Terra Creta makes the most of the unique terroir and local passions to create some of the finest Greek olive oils. 

Crete boasts a thousands-years-old tradition in olive growing, and olive oil is indissolubly linked to the island’s history and culinary tradition,” Emmanouil Karpadakis, the olive oil innovation and area exports manager of Terra Creta, told Olive Oil Times.

Around 7% of the Cretan olive oil classifies as extra virgin, whereas Cretans exhibit an insatiable appetite for olive oil with an average consumption of 29  kilograms per year, the highest in the world,” he added.

Terra Creta is focused on quality in production - a mindset that persists from 2001 when the company began its operations in Chania. After moving to its privately-owned facilities in nearby Kolymvari, the company pledged to deliver products of impeccable quality through a thoroughly designed production methodology.

At our state-of-the-art olive oil mill in Kolymvari, we produce and bottle our olive oils based on a holistic approach that promotes transparency and sustainability from the field to the supermarket shelves,” Karpadakis said.

We work together with two separate groups of local olive growers under a collaborative model we developed ourselves,” he added. It was a challenge, but our efforts have paid off helping our producers work better and our company to produce olive oils of premium quality.”

We have also intervened at key points in the production process to ensure sustainable management and development,” Karpadakis continued. We apply minimal to zero harrowing of the soil. We avoid burning crop residues such as olive tree branches and twigs, and we only use plant-protection products friendly to pollinators and no chemical pesticides whatsoever.”

Within 20 years, the export-oriented Terra Creta has evolved to a vertically integrated company encompassing all the necessary operations for the production, bottling and exportation of Cretan extra virgin olive oil worldwide.

Karpadakis, who is also an olive oil sensory evaluation expert, praised the wide selection the fertile land of Crete has to offer to local olive oil producers.

With a plethora of PDO and PGI Certified olive oil producing territories on the island, we can produce extra virgin olive oils of unique aromas and flavors to satisfy customers with different palates,” he said. The sensory profile of our olive oils is always easily recognizable and appreciable by our customers.”

At Terra Creta, we believe that our focus on responding to market demands and consistently offering innovative products of tangible quality sets us apart from the competition,” he added.

We keep track of the changes in our customers’ preferences, considering the growing global trends for olive oils of special sensory profiles and improved health benefits. It is a sector we’ve heavily invested in over the last decade.” More