The Region of Attica
The Region of Attica is located at the central part of the country. It contains a territory of 3,808 km2 and covers 2.9% of the total territory of Greece. It is based in Athens, the Greek capital.
Attica, apart from its ancient monuments and history, is a region displaying rare natural beauty and a wonderful climate, suitable for the nourishing of plants that, although they do not even grow in many other places, bear fruit here. Land and sea in this place provide us with all kinds of goods. As Xenophon said, “whatever goods Gods have to offer people in each season, here it all starts to grow very early and ceases to grow very late”.
Nowadays, the Regional Units of Western and Eastern Attica, the islands of the Region and the area of Trizinia present significant employment rates in their primary sector. Dynamic sectors include the ones of floriculture, horticulture, viticulture, as well as fisheries and aquaculture.
Greenhouse units operate in the area of Western Attica, while viticulture, olive tree farming and horticulture are being developed. In Eastern Attica, viticulture, olive tree farming, greenhouse, horticultural and tree growing units, as well as large-scale plantations, are dominant. Finally, in the island area, olive oil, grapes / wine, peanuts (PDO pistachio from the island of Aegina), rusks from the island of Kythira, horticultural, floricultural, aromatic products are produced.
Livestock farming in the Region of Attica is characterized by significant numbers of poultry farming and livestock breeding units.
The “Agrofood Basket of the Region of Attica”
The “Agrofood Basket of the Region of Attica” includes garden and greenhouse gardening products, wine, floriculture products, pistachios, honey, sheep and goat milk and meat products, as well as traditional products, PDO Feta, figs from Vravrona, olive oil, honey from Trizinia and Kythira.
As far as the processing of agricultural and livestock products is concerned, Attica is the area of activity of one of the 4 major companies in the sector of pasta, 8% of the authorized olive oil standardizers, 4 out of 25 drying units of aromatic and medicinal plants, as well as of a large number of fresh – fruit – and – vegetables -packing plants, wineries, wine packing units and of other units of processing or standardizing herbal products.
There are also 7 slaughterhouses, 11 honey manufacturers with export activity, a large number of egg packing centres (mainly in Western Attica) and an even greater number of meat processing units with export activity.
Figs are a rich source of potassium, calcium, vitamin B6 and fiber. Excellent domestic varieties of figs are ’Vassilika’ and ’Mavra Markopoulou’ which are consumed either dried or fresh from the end of July to the beginning of November. These varieties, which are cultivated within the borders of the Municipality of Markopoulo Mesopeion, produce the excellent product ”Figs Vravronas Markopoulo Mesogeion” P.G.E.
The word “sycofant” which etymologically comes from ’sycon’ (fig in Greek) today denotes one who accuses someone maliciously and with false evidence.
These sweet summer fruits have been known since antiquity for their special nutritional value and whenever an epidemic disease spread in the city of Athens, their export was considered a misdemeanor. The one who denounced those who illegally exported figs was described as a “sycofant”.
According to Herodotus, Xerxes, a lover of fresh figs, began his campaign in Attica to conquer its famous figs.
The “art” of beekeeping is widely practiced in the Attica Region, with an annual honey production of at least 500 tons. The great diversity of the Attic landscape as well as the rich sunshine, lead to the production of honey with special organoleptic characteristics. Among the most famous Greek honeys stands out the Attic thyme honey of Kythera due to its intense taste and aroma, as well as the thyme honey that is produced in significant quantities in the areas of Ymittos, Anavyssos, Grammatikos and Kapandriti of Eastern Attica.
One of the most widespread products of Attica in ancient Greece was honey and specifically thyme which was considered excellent.
Beekeeping flourished in many places in Attica.
Honey was so important to the ancient Greeks, that they often filled large amphorae with it and mixed it with wine, as offerings both to gods as well as to the souls of the dead.
OLIVE OIL, EDIBLE OLIVE
Olive cultivation for the production of both olive oil and edible olives, is widespread throughout the territory of Attica. However, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil ’Triizinias’ is presented as a more special product. It is produced from the variety ’Manaki’ with the participation of the variety ’Koroneiki’ in a percentage of up to 50%, and has been characterized as a product of Protected Designation of Origin since 2006. It has yellow- green-yellow color, fruity aroma of freshly cut fruit and bittersweet taste.
In ancient Athens, the olive tree was a sacred tree, with laws that strictly defended its protection.
The region of Attica was self-sufficient and exporter of olives and olive oil.
The Athenians used the products of the olive tree for beautification, lighting, smearing the body of the athletes but also as a prize, since the winners in the Panathenaea received vessels full of oil.
Wine is the pre-eminently traditional product of Attica, with Eastern Attica and especially the Mediterranean region having a dominant position on the wine map of Greece. In Eastern Attica are produced the wines with Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) of Pallini, Markopoulou, North Slopes of Penteliko, Attica, Anavyssos, Iliou, Paiania, Slopes of Parnitha, Spata, Koropi, as well as Retsines, of Attica, Mesogeion , Spata, Koropi, Markopoulou, Paiania, Pikermi. In Western Attica, the vineyard of Megara gives the wines PGI ‘Gerania’, ‘Retsina Megara’ while part of northwestern Attica participates in the production of PGI wines ‘Plagies Kithairona’.
The day of an average Athenian in ancient Greece began with bread – barley for the poor, wheat for the rich – dipped in wine (unbridled wine), accompanied by figs or olives.
Wine flowed abundantly at symposia but drunkenness was not acceptable..
The pistachios of Aegina and Megara have been products of Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) since 1994. However, the cultivation of pistachio has been established in other areas of Attica, such as Salamina, Markopoulo Mesogaia and Avlona, with significant production. A few grams of pistachios are enough to meet our daily needs for energy, good monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, minerals and antioxidants.
Gennadios (1848-1917) states that the one who gave the first impetus to the cultivation of the tree was the importer of the chocolate industry in Greece D. Pavlidis, who established a pistachio plantation on his estate in Psychiko in 18ó0.
The first organized pistachio in Aegina was installed by a visionary doctor, Nikolaos Peroplou during the last decade of the 19th century.
Food and beverage manufacturing
The “basket of the Attica Region” in addition to its emblematic products, includes many more either of plant origin produced from large cultivated plants, rural/greenhouse vegetables, citrus fruits, various fruit trees, aromatic plants, legumes, etc., or of animal origin such as goats, beef, pork, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, etc.
With raw material from agricultural products of Attica (plant and animal production), but also products from the rest of Greece or from abroad, companies throughout the territory of Attica produce food of all categories, which are either available for domestic consumption or promoted abroad.