Mykonos Vioma Organic Farms: Organic, Sustainable Farming with Roots in the Community
People have been asking my lately what was my favorite part about Greece. Despite the obvious views, sunsets, food, and bright blue waters, my favorite part of the honeymoon was taking a trip out to Mykonos Vioma Organic Farms. About 15km outside of Mykonos Town near Ano Mera, is this little organic farm that was started in 1994 by Nikos Asimomytis who decided to leave his bank career in Athens to return home to start this farm. The synergy of how this farm operates is a model I wish all farmers could learn from. The resourcefulness, ingenuity, and community that has been created on this little farm is inspirational.
Vioma in Greek means “life experiences” and that is exactly what this farm is all about it – experiencing life and exploring what nature has to offer. From the time we drove our little ATV on to the farm, it was definitely an experience. We were greeted by the two farm dogs that acted as “door bells” alerting everyone to the arrival of new guests. There is an open eating area with an open kitchen; all the farm tables are hand painted with different designs that authentic to Greece. Here you can taste their 3 wines, sample the farms homemade cheeses, or get a refreshing lemonade in a mason jar with a pasta straw!
Now, coming from California and spending half my life in wine country, I had a little bit of a different idea of what an organic farm and vineyard was going to look like. I’m used to tall vineyards rising out above the ground in nice, neat rows. In Mykonos, one of the windiest islands in the Mediterranean, those types of vineyards are not an option. So, their vineyards are very low to the ground to protect the vineyards from the intense winds coming from the North. In addition to these vineyards being low to the ground, they also have deep roots, going 25 meters (or about 75 feet) down in to the ground. The benefit of this is pivotal for the sustainability of the farm. Mykonos is a very dry island, and the only water the farm gets is well water. With the roots being able to go down that far, the vineyards are able to tap into their own water source.
Pesticides… Nope not at all. Nothing is sprayed on to these vineyards at all. This is where the farms’ animals come into play. The animals actually play a vital role in the health and vitality of the vineyards. After 6pm every night, the animals which include Billy goats, sheep, chickens, and a donkey, are all released into the vineyards to eat up all the bugs and dead leaves – natural pest killers! In addition to protecting the vines, these animals are also the fertilizer for the vineyards.
Now if this isn’t already making you fall in love with this farm, this next part might! Since Mykonos is such a dry island, and there isn’t a lot of vegetation for the animals to feed on, Vioma Farms actually opens up their vineyards to neighboring animals to come in and feed. These animals are able to get the food they need, and the farm is able to keep the farm clear of pesticides and get even more fertilizer to help their vineyards and garden flourish! Talk about sustainability and community!!
The reason the food in Greece tastes so much better is because farms like Vioma are taking the time and care to make sure that produce is grown right and that the animals are cared for. You can taste the care, love, and attention that is put into everything they make. Greece is not a top producer for a lot of the crops they grow because they feel that quality is much more important that quantity. They value their integrity in producing high quality, flavorful, and sustainable products.
The mission and values of Vioma Farms are ones that I hope more growers and farmers adopt. Quality over quantity, sustainability, connection to the Earth, connection to each other, and genuine care and love for all things. May we all have a lot more “viomas” in our life!