Two sisters from Thessaloniki who are forest ecologists and environmentalists took a risk during the peak of the Greek crisis, launching an organic herb company and a few years down the track, they have seen huge success, now selling their products all around Greece and to international markets.
Ancient Greek philosophy, combined with modern cultivation practices and fertile Greek land, are the key elements used by Renela and Alexia Giannakopoulou, who collect plants by hand and transfer them directly to specially modified rooms for drying at the 10-acre farm they have in Monopigado just outside of Thessaloniki.
Four years ago the girls who graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, came into contact with herbs when their uncle, who lives in Kozani, informed them about the prospects of lavender growing. They began to thoroughly research herb cultivation, with Renela attending a seminar at the Faculty of Pharmacy of AUTh on "Cultivation of Aromatic Medicinal Plants and Production of Essential Oils", while Alexia received a Ph.D. for the active substances of Pharmaceutical Aromatic Plants.
Seeking the ideal piece of land to begin their cultivation, they found an area of acres in Monopigado, a spot just 30 km from Thessaloniki and launched their business Inoni.
“We closely monitor and control all stages of cultivation and processing, from selecting planting varieties to packaging, offering a vertical agricultural production. We follow the organic farming principles for all of our products and use eco-friendly packages,” says Renela and Alexia.
“We sort out and finally select with great care the dried plant material. The final chosen material is then sealed in an air-tight environment in eco-packages, assuring the quality characteristics of our premium herbs.”
Their main products are organic mountain tea, organic oregano, and organic sage.
“We aim to bring the aromas, the flavors and the benefits of the Hellenic herbs to our table, exactly as we find them in their natural environment. Driven with passion and dedication for what we produce, steering through continuous quests and research, we focus to offer herbs that preserve their authenticity, particular aromas, and their gifted healing properties,” they add.
In addition to flavors, the emphasis for the girls is on the cumulative beneficial properties and biological actions of their blends for the human body, to offer, even with consumption of small quantities, specific nutrition for the protection against diseases while strengthening the immune system.
Their products are completely free of pesticides, hormones, and chemical additives and the sisters are now in the process of looking at expanding their product range to include organic dried fruits and organic drinks.