Pure Greek: Specialist for Feta, Olives and Olive Oil

Author: Kai Kreuzer

“We could increase our sales from five to 100 tons of feta a year,” says Sofie Tvarno, describing the successful organic marketing of her start-up company Pure Greek. This tall, slim woman supplies her own brand to the German companies ÖMA and Dennree. As well as feta, she sells olive oil, olive pesto, olives and stuffed olives. She will shortly be putting a new product on the market – pure, unfiltered olive oil. Tvarno expects sales to grow strongly again this year as the capacity lays by 350 tons of feta per year.
(Picture: Sofie Tvarno on the Pure Greek stand at BioFach 2011)

 

“My customers have always been very pleased with our high quality,” Tvarno is happy to report. She founded her company in Glyfada near Athens in 2003 and has built it up with great determination. Originating from Copenhagen - she is blond and has a healthy tan – and having started to study modern Greek in 1994, she decided to emigrate to Greece in 1995. After arriving in Athens, she also began studying English literature. In 2002, she became aware of the problem that small farmers in Greece were having in marketing their products at good prices. Looking for meaningful work, she decided to get into marketing herself, and she came across a small farmer initiative. She eventually became the organizer, who successfully markets typical Greek products abroad, attends trade fairs and is always making new contacts. Tvarno is proud of the fact that more and more people in rural Greece are being given meaningful organic employment. (Picture: Sofie Tvarno was delighted with the response to her attractive stand at BioFach)

In the season, 48 people are employed in a little factory to stuff olives for Pure Greek. Green olives from the Kalamata region in the Peloponnese and from the island of Evia (the second biggest Greek island) are filled with peeled almonds, garlic, a piece of lemon or paprika. As soon as the olive harvest is finished in September, processing begins on Evia. The olives are then kept in brine. The fine food specialities are marketed in 450 g screw-top jars or 3 kg jars for service counters. As well as green olives, the company sells the succulent black variety, that is usually supplied by the same farmers, the difference being that they stay on the trees longer before harvesting. The black olives - hand-picked when they are ripe between October and December – are supplied by an organic cooperative with about 40 members. Whereas green olives are all harvested and supplied at once, the black olives are delivered over a period of about three months. Apart from the stuffed olives, that account for around 10 % of all the olives sold, Pure Greek produces three sorts of olive pesto (green, black and with herbs).

In contrast to olive processing, feta cheese production is an all-year-round activity. Pure Greek offers two variants – one is made from 100 % sheep milk, and the other contains 30 % goat milk. The “little man’s cow” produces an important income for the small farms in Greece. With the help of a vegan lab, a small organic dairy near Athens, that employs 22 people, processes the milk delivered throughout the year to produce feta cheese. It is supplied in consumer packs of 180 g and 2 kg packs for large-scale customers.

On average four times a week, consignments are sent to customers in Germany, UK, Sweden and Belgium. "Denmark will start in May" Sofie Tvarno is happy. The organic dairy, that uses its own recipe with a reduced salt content, supplies only Pure Greek, so that Sofie Tvarno is responsible for the whole marketing process and has the exclusive right of representation. Five cheese articles are produced: organic feta with sheep milk, organic feta with sheep and goat milk, organic feta cubes with pieces of olive and herbs in oil, a slicing cheese with herbs and a white fresh cheese made from sheep and goat milk.

Tip: www.puregreek.com

26.04.2011

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