Cultivation of agricultural products
The land of Thera, as is formed after the many eruptions of the volcano of Thera, has been enriched with chemical and natural elements and minerals which makes it extremely fertile. It is, therefore, possible to cultivate many species and with very satisfactory results.
In addition to the main cultivation and care of vineyards and olive groves, they are seasonal traditional local products cultivated and processed by the brotherhood , such as fava beans, tomatoes, capers, wild oregano, kritamo (samphire) and various herbs. All of these are basic in the Theraic cuisine, but also of the Mediterranean cuisine and nutrition in general.
Fava and the tomato of Santorini are products of Protected Designation of Origin. Volcanic soil and the special microclimate characterized by very strong winds, significant sunshine throughout the year and extremely humid conditions (low annual rainfall) are the main factors for the special features, high quality and unique taste of the products. However, their production has declined significantly in Santorini, as the cultivated areas are clearly less than in the past.
The Fava comes from the family "Lathyrus Clymenum L.", which has been cultivated exclusively on the island for at least 3,500 years. The tomato is watered not only by rainwater, but also by the extensive humidity that prevails on the island and is retained by the Theraic volcanic land. For this reason, the fruit is small in size, thick-skinned but very tasty.
Also, at the right time, wild oregano, barley, capers and sage are
harvested from inaccessible areas, which are properly processed and packaged to
keep them intact.
At the same time, lately the brotherhood has developed the cultivation of two agricultural products, unknown to local agricultural production: mastic trees and saffron.
Mastic trees or scientifically called schinos (Pistacia Lentiscus Chia) produce resin, the world-famous masticha. The cultivation of mastic trees is widely known to thrive exclusively in the southern part of Chios. According to theories, this is due to the temperate climate and especially to the microclimate of the area (dry with a little rainfall), but also to the submarine volcanoes and the limestone soil.Exactly the same climatic conditions prevail in Santorini and their combination with the volcanic soil of the island led to the initial - experimental planting of a few mastic trees in the women's Hermitage of Agios Georgios in Emporio village, with 5 nuns, a Metochi (under the juridiction of the monastery) of Prophet Elias monastery. Quickly the few mastic trees prospered and so several new trees were planted in the courtyard of Agios Georgios, which have grown significantly and produce the precious mastic, as shown in the photos below.
Also, on the island of Anafi and in the areas of the monastery Metochi of Panagia Kalamiotissa, the so-called "saffron", the well-known Krokos (which is a characteristic product of Kozani), has been systematically cultivated. The inaccessible mountains of Anafi have always been "colored" during the autumn months with the purple color of the native-wild yolk, which is naturally produced on the island in large quantities.In recent years, it has been systematically cultivated by the occasional fathers of our Monastery and on the estates around the Monastery with very important production.! From the flower, only the red stamens are collected, which are dried naturally and packed in special packages.