The company MITERA and local producers help the Throumbolià to gain worldwide fame
By Manousos Klados
Rethymnon News, November 6, 2019
"Finally! The local olive variety Rethimnon, the Throumbolià, as well as the olive variety Mastoidis, are on their way to get the recognition they deserve for their exceptional characteristics.» This is what our newspaper told Antonella Meyer-Masciulli, founder of the MITERA company, which aims to promote the cultivation and maintenance of the throumbolià, committed to the protection of the ancient olive trees of our area.
There are quite a few farmers from Rethymnon who are involved in this project and have committed themselves to caring for their trees with every trick in the book. The extra virgin olive oil produced as part of this project has already attracted a great deal of attention and is present in various markets. Ms. Antonella Meyer-Masciulli comments on her MITERA project with the following words: «The name of the project could not have been chosen better. In Greek, this word means 'mother' and represents these premium olive oils made from ancestral varieties.»
MITERA olive oils belong to a small group of extra virgin olive oils worldwide, derived from olive varieties whose cultivation began thousands of years ago. These products underline, even more than is the case with olive oil anyway, the ancient roots that connect the people of the Mediterranean with the olive trees.
Vangelis Rodinos, Ms Meyer-Masciulli's local employee and manager of the Agronova consultancy, adds: "These ancient olive trees are now cultivated with the greatest care and with respect for the environment and the genotype of the trees. It is in the nature of things that tradition is enriched with the technical achievements of our time. In order to produce an olive oil that can meet the highest organoleptic requirements, the most modern harvesting and processing methods are indispensable.»
The company MITERA GmbH is one of the few companies in the world that sells this unique extra virgin olive oil and strives for a long-term agro-economic perspective.
The main concern is the protection of these rare and ancient trees (and some ancient trees) and the preservation of the genetic heritage of Crete and Italy and the continuous improvement of the results already achieved. This was made possible thanks to the collaboration between the company's founder, Antonella Meyer-Masciulli, and her scientific and agronomic collaborators (Dr. Nicolò Cultrera, as well as Vangelis Rodinos, Kostìs Siganos, Mathios Koutelidakis and Pandelis Katsanakis from Agronova).
In January 2019, MITERA GmbH presented the first DNA certification of pure olive oil of the Mastoidis (Rethymnon) and Raio (Umbria) varieties. The DNA analysis was carried out free of charge by the local company BioCos in Chania.
In November 2019 the presentation of the olive oil of the Throumbolià from Rethymnon is coming up. The DNA analysis guarantees consumers the origin, purity and authenticity of the product.
The quality of the products and their acceptance in the market are remarkable. Already in the first year, the olive oils from MITERA GmbH won 10 international prizes (viewable under www.mitera.ch/awards).
The high point of this series of successes is the admission of MITERA GmbH to the small but distinguished circle of the world's best olive oil producers. The world-renowned olive oil guide FlosOlei (www.flosolei.com) has included the company in the exclusive circle of top producers of the year 2020.
The throumbolià on the throne that is her due
"The success came relatively quickly, but there is a lot of hard work behind it," revealed Ms. Antonella Meyer-Masciulli to our newspaper.
She emphasizes that it is not enough to accompany the project scientifically and to produce the olive oils professionally. It is just as important that olive growers with an open mind and willingness to cooperate constructively can be involved in the project. This also includes the following properties:
The love for the olive groves of the two olive varieties Throumbolià and Mastoidis to protect. The conscious decision not to cut down these ancient trees and to replace them with more modern, supposedly more productive varieties. The smaller the population of these old trees becomes, the more difficult it will be to pollinate these varieties in the future.
The owners of these trees must be willing to invest money and time in taking care of them, pruning them correctly and thereby ensuring more regular yields.
In addition, they should pursue sustainable, preferably organically certified cultivation. This is the only way to get the problems of irrigation and fertilization under control. And that's the only way to win the fight against diseases and against the olive fruit fly, the olive's worst enemy.
The most important condition for the production of an impeccable product is impeccable fruit, harvested on time. Without top quality olives this project could not continue.
In conclusion, Ms. Meyer-Masciulli states: The fact that the Throumbolià from Rethymnon and the Mastoidis olive variety have finally been able to lead the way to success is thanks to the excellent olive oil that can be produced with these olive varieties. However, the appropriate technical know-how is required to exploit this potential. These ancient olive varieties deserve our utmost attention and care.
Through the MITERA GmbH project, the Prefecture of Rethymnon has a serious opportunity to enhance the olive oil sector in three ways:
Protection of ancient olive varieties.
The production of top products of organic agriculture.
Raising the tourism industry's attention to the nature and natural products of Rethymnon.