Traceability is a buzzword in the food world these days, with more and more people wanting to know exactly where their food is coming from. Terra Creta is a Greek olive oil company which incorporates traceability into each bottle of olive oil that it produces, connecting its consumers to the olive groves and farmers in Kolymvari, a region in western Crete.
Kolymvari has been recognised by the European Union as a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) due to the high quality of their extra virgin olive oils. PDO essentially means that the quality of the olive oil being produced in Kolymvari has very specific characteristics which cannot be replicated using olives or production processes from any other region. It connects the quality of the olive oil directly to the land where it was produced – the soil, the climate and the people.
Terra Creta has a strong focus on exporting Kolymvari’s extra virgin olive oil to international consumers while also maintaining a strong commitment to the region and its farmers. Their oils have been internationally recognised and have won several awards.
In 2006, they started a neat little online system called the Traceability Tree, a nice way to connect the consumer back to the olive grove. Each bottle of their extra virgin olive oil is stamped with a Lot number. If you type the Lot number into Terra Creta’s website, you can trace the path of your particular bottle from the olive grove to the point of sale. They even include a map which you can use to zoom in on the main olive grove which contributed to the oil in your bottle. It is quite remarkable to actually see the specific olive grove that your oil originated from, especially when you are sitting at your computer thousands of miles away. It almost makes you imagine yourself in the olive grove, tugging at the branches of an olive tree to coax the olives into the nets below. It connects you immediately and it makes you care more about the product. You can try it out for yourself if you go to Terra Creta’s Traceability Tree and use the lot number of one of my bottles (Lot 27813).
Although Terra Creta’s olive oils are available in over 30 countries, the UAE (where I live) is not one of them yet. I got my bottles when my husband was on a business trip to Greece and he picked them up for me from Duty Free at the airport (not the most idyllic place to buy olive oil, I will admit). All three extra virgin olive oils I got were delicious, with a lovely fruity aroma and flavorful with a slight pepperiness at the end.
If you do happen to find yourself in Crete, Terra Creta goes one step further to connect you to the olive oil process by offering tours of their olive oil production facility. So far the Tripadvisor reviews are glowing. I haven’t done a tour yet, but I have it firmly on my list of ‘things to do’.
I admire the way Terra Creta is committed to connecting the consumer to the olive groves in Kolymvari and I would love to see more olive oil producers make a similar effort.
- I purchased the bottles of Terra Crete Extra Virgin Olive Oil. All opinions are honest and my own.