Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Hello there again, I just found some more pictures and even a short video I made while we were collecting oregano the other days..

Remember, I talked about, that the only sound where the cicadas around.. well, in the video you can just hear them.. I must say, that the video's quality is lousy.. its the first video I took with this camera, the first video I took anyway alltogether, and apart from my own inexperience of taking videos, I think that the colours are nothing like real..
Anyway, why not even share beginnings here, and maybe you can forgive, that quality and details are poor, but nevertheless get a feeling of the place we collected oregano.. The video was taken in the afternoon, when we had the benefit of the shade that the old olivetrees provided..

We were collecting, and I captured Babis in a photo, as above.. then I tried the video function..so here it is. As I said, no great artistic achievement.. but you might get an idea. And I'll try to get better at it.. but you can hear the cicadas..sound of the south. Maybe share the athmosphere we have been collecting in, the serenity of a remote biotope in the Cretan mountains..

Monday, July 6, 2009

I have just updated the website, now you can find short infos about our essential oils also in German, Greek and Danish...

And we have added our dried herbs, our soap and shampoo to the webshop on our site as well, as there was a considerable interest out there, that these products should be available over the web as well as on Crete, where we have all our products in bio shops in Chania and Rethymnon.

By the way, if are you favoring ecological, bio products also when being on vacation in Crete, there is a list of Cretan bio shops and a short description of them on our site under 'where to find our products in Crete'...

Some weeks ago, we did make a new batch of soap, you can see the soap drying and curing here to the right..we didn't take any pictures while making it, but next time you'll get a full description of the process, pictures inclusive. We use certified biological olive- and avocado oil, our hydrolates and essential oils. Nothing else, except the lye, sodium hydroxide. We apply a cold production procedure, which is very rare to find employed in soap production, because it requires a lot more time. However, using biological fatty oils as well as hydrolates and essential oils, it is very important to not exceed a temperature of 28'C. This way, all the vitamins are preserved in the fatty oils, and all the quality of the hydrolates and essential oils as well.

Both the recipe and the production procedure result in a truly fine soap, which is naturally fragrant and soothing to the skin. It balances skin health, strengthens its barriers against pathogens, normalises skin in cases of rashes. Because of its richness and gentleness, it is well suited for children and babies as well..
Babis calls it 'the finest soap in the world', and he's not a man of many words. However, we have seen over the years, that whoever gets it once, returns back for more..
OK, enough about soap..
Next time we do a batch, we'll let you in on the production, with pictures etc..
Now, its time to make some food, the sun is on his way towards the horizon, its been a hot day.. and tomorrow we'll start to collect Thyme, Thymus capitatus, by the western coast of Crete, near Amygdalokefali... that means a few hours drive, so we have to get up early..

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hello there, we have been collecting oregano, Origanum vulgare during the last few days in the hills above Argyroupoli.. The finest plants are slender and have a multitude of white inflorescenses, the stems are cut one by one...

Its a beautiful place here, old olivetrees and abandoned fields... Its quiet, only the constant chirping sound of the cicadas, called tzitzikas in Greek, fill the air in those hot days now... Cicadas shed their skins as they become adults, and these delicate abandoned skins are found on many a oregano plant these days.
We do not distill essential oil of oregano, since the amount of herb required is large, and oregano is widely collected locally by the people for culinary use, so we just share with everybody else. That is, we collect only for 'herb', and a few days of collection gives us the amount we need and can offer for a year.
As with all our culinary herbs, we discard whatever might be left of last years herbs, when the new collection is in, has dried and is ready for packing. We believe, that herbs are best within a year after their collection, they loose most of their aroma and colour if kept longer, just as we can see with most commercial herbs, which mostly are given a shelf-life or 'best before' date of five

Now the oregano is drying up in Kallikratis, hanging in bunches, and we went down to the sea near Frangokastello, to have a look at our Vitex agnus castus, chastetree population. The plants are in full bloom now, so beautiful.. Vitex usually flowers a beautiful mauve-lilac, but there are some rare plants, that flower white as well.. Already Dioscurides in his Materia Medica, 79 BC, describes a white flowering and a lilac flowering kind of chastetree.. Here you can see one of each, flowering by the beach...