Organic & Environmentally Friendly

Organic & Environmentally Friendly

The call to Nature's Way in Cyprus

As ecologists look on in dismay at the destruction of the natural coastline at Kapparis and Ayia Thekla in sacrifice to the modern-day God of Money, many individuals in Cyprus, respond to the call of the natural and leave us a little bit of hope that Aphrodite’s Island will retain something of its corner of paradise.

In the mountains, villagers know how to forage for many foods that grow in the wild of their own accord without pesticides or fertilisers: Agrelia (wild asparagus), numerous varieties of mushrooms, wild garlic. You will marvel at the way wild thyme, with its powerful aroma, sprouts brazenly out of chalky rock and how caper plants will, in places, line the side of the path.

Many who grow crops of one kind or another try to be as organic as possible. I remember winegrower Sophocles Vlassides once saying to me in response to a question, “If our vines are ill, we treat them, we don’t let them go to rot, but we don’t systematically add chemicals when not necessary.”

Down by the sea where I live, I know several people who grow food either nearly organically or totally organically. Nearly organic, are the farmers from whom I buy vegetables at Ayia Thekla Market. They say to me “We try not to use any chemicals, and we cannot vouch for what happens in the fields next to ours.”

Another place where I like to buy my vegetables and fresh, free-range eggs is at a little small-holding after the Kapparis roundabout on the road to the Paralimni. I’ve nick-named it "the Good Life". It is run by an English couple that own one of the second-hand shops nearby. The small-holding is just a hobby. They are there at unpredictable intervals and use the proceeds to help feed and look after feral cats of which there are many in Cyprus. They grow what they grow without any chemicals whatsoever.

My friend Kyriakos Theodorou has taken things a stage further. He has set his mind to building a whole organic development in the countryside outside of Avgorou. He calls it “Green Acres Organic Gardens.” I was visiting him about a week ago. The sheer lusheshness of the organically grown chard and broccoli and beetroot were a joy to behold. He gave me a big bunch of the chard. It was superb. The row of olive trees are amazing. They yielded 250 kilos of olives last autumn. His local olive-oil factory turned them into 75 litres of home-cultivated cold-pressed organic olive oil.

Kyriakos lives in the first house he has had built on the development. I sat chatting in his lounge the other week. The timber framed walls gave such good insulation that we did not need to have any heating on at all. In my house on that day I had two air conditioning units on in heating mode.

“I can’t force buyers to follow my organic lifestyle,” said Kyriakos, “but I hope they will and I’ll show them how to maintain a garden that yields prolific vegetables without the plethora of pesticides and chemicals that are so prevalent today.”