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The 'Cyclops' (Kyklopas in Greek) of Makri and international awards!!
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The 'Cyclops' (Kyklopas in Greek) of Makri and international awards!!

The word 'cyclops' (Kyklopas in Greek) is associated with Polyphemus and Odyssey and Makri, a picturesque port and beautiful beaches just west of Alexandroupolis. But who is Kyklopas S.A., the olive oil company that has won 106 international awards and accolades, which exports more than 50% of its production without ever taking part in trade shows and now has its products sought in New Caledonia?

It is no wonder that Kyklopas caught the attention of GRTimes.gr, as did the Makri olive variety, which has already begun its journey of recognition as a PDO product by the European Union.

"We were the first in Makri to bottle our olive oil 15 years ago, putting all our oil on the market as a branded product. Today we export to almost all of Europe, while for the last four years we have been exporting to Japan and Taiwan as well," said Ms Valia Kelidou recounting the work that began about 40 years ago by her parents, Argyris and Niki Kelidis, and is continued today by the "team of six", with younger members being made up by the couple's daughters, Valia and Alexandra, and their husbands, Alexandros Tokas and Athanasios Kinalopoulos.

Kyklopas is a family business, founded in 1982, when Argyris Kelidis, an employee himself, decided to realize his dream of creating a modern olive mill and to give it his all, in the cultivation of olive trees and production of exceptional quality olive oil from the local Makri variety. And the dream is unsurprising, given the already existing olive groves in the area.

The olive mill was constructed on the land where the family used to breed rabbits, and the catalyst for oil production were the 300 olive trees that have been passed down the generations to the Kelidis family. Today, the Kyklopas olive grove has 12,000 olive trees, of which 30% are in the form of rented groves with an additional 2,000 olive trees grown organically.

As Ms Valia Kelidou explains, the family business chose not to participate in trade shows for financial reasons. However, precisely because they believed in the high quality of their product, they decided to take part in the Olive and Olive Oil Festival in 2008, where they won the platinum award. And that was only the beginning: dozens of awards in international competitions soon followed - France, Britain, USA, Israel, Italy, and more - making Kyklopas early harvest extra virgin olive oil, with an acidity of only 0.15, known worldwide.

Of the 60-70 tonnes of olive oil produced, 50% is exported, mainly in glass bottles, with Germany being the largest market for the Thracian company. In Greece, always bottled and branded, their olive oil is available in the local market, but also nationwide in delicatessen shops, in large hotels and some restaurants, as there is cooperation with chefs who work on modern Greek gastronomy.

The quality of the product, as pointed out by Ms Kelidou, depends on the cultivation methods that highlight the characteristics of the olive tree: harvesting, processing and pressing, and storage conditions. About 3,500 other oil producers are also served at the Kyklopas mill, some from as far as the prefecture of Kavala.

Dressings and more

Over time, Kyklopas has invested in a range of differentiated products, utilizing in every possible way the production of the estate.  And so followed the naturally flavoured olive oils, olive paste, olive spoon sweet, soaps, but also honey.

At the same time, educational activities and seminars are being implemented, while Valia Kelidou’s interest in the environment is seen in the disposal of waste at the biogas plant in Komotini, while the residuals are pasteurized and returned to the ground, such as compost made from tree prunings.

For 2020, the company, which has investigated the market prospects, is preparing to launch a luxury product, and so more intently entering the corporate gifts market.

"Allow me to say what I truly believe, that anyone who has a love for what they want to do and is willing to gain knowledge and experience, but also does right by their customers, will succeed even if they starts without many resources," concluded Ms Kelidou.

You can read Ms. Anni Karolidou's original article for GRTimes.gr here





«April 2020»