At the age of 30, Sotiris Lyberopoulos left Greece for postgraduate studies in England and worked in a multinational company. “There you find more opportunities to develop your talents. One morning, though, I woke up and wondered, is this what I want to do? Is this real life? If I continued, I would have stayed forever, but something inside just ate at me.”
So he decided to return to Athens and began writing for a motorcycle magazine, which gave him plenty of time to think about what he really wanted to achieve.
It was then where it struck him to return to his hometown and his father’s village of Raches, Messinia and to get back to nature that many have forgotten about. He began living on homegrown produce. “A month later my mother came, opened the fridge and found it empty and asked me how am I surviving? That’s when it clicked to Sotiris that he could start a business where he could promote local produce.
He looked to local Greek produce, organic greens that he could sell and today his business Radiki is selling products to award-winning restaurants in Athens and have gone as far as five-star restaurants in Paris.
“Between the mountain and the sea, you see all the seasons. The village where we spent holidays when we were kids, with a garden on the edge, the sea 10 metres away and nice memories.”
“I find that, ultimately, we do not need much. Horta (wild greens) from the mountain, tomatoes from the field, eggs from the chicken. A real life without any philosophy behind it. ”
He saw that the produce everyone ate here — the sea greens, the aromatic oranges and lemons, the wild truffles — were far tastier than the fare at the fanciest restaurants in Athens.
“And I thought, this is irrational,” he says. “So, I thought, why don’t I take this food that is great and never goes to Athens and sell it to people who want to pay something more for their food?”
He then relocated to Raches for good and approached award winning chefs in fine dining restaurants around Athens and started selling them wild sea greens.
Soon, he was getting flooded with orders for greens, then cultivated produce like carrots, beans and watermelons. He called the service Radiki, which means chicory in Greek.
“Some thought they had nothing to lose. These were the people who opened the way for me when no one knew me. That is why I still associate with them, to show them something more than appreciation.”
Radiki has become a huge and successful business and Sotiris is now known as a leading Greek food entrepreneur that supplies rare wild greens, mushrooms, herbs and homemade products to restaurants and to the public in Greece and other parts of the world, which can’t be found in stores.
His large team now travels all around Greece, searches for the best edible greens, and takes care in order to deliver them alive and with the minimum environmental cost. “Our list contains more than 50 different greens and herbs which are available according to season. We select, pack and send the wild greens using methods that guaranty the maintenance of their nutritional value and their freshness, in order for you to eat what we would eat.”