Imagine the joy when a summer rain falling on a Greek island! How all plants as well as start, greedily sucking in the droplets and an almost soporific fragrance spread over the hills.
Amorgos hosts a great diversity of flora, it’s a herbal paradise. Around 600 species exist on the island out of 1,670 species in the Cyclades, according to the Flora Hellenica Database. This biodiversity, as well as the quality, especially of the pharmaceutical aromatic plants (e.g. high content of essential oils) may be due to the combination of the island’s micro-climate, the particular geological information and its geomagnetic content. Amorgos is a narrow island but it is long with relatively high altitude and very hilly, so it offers plenty of surface area for its flora.
Vangelis Vassalos and his wife Eleni are the island’s leading herb experts in Langada. In their company IAMATA they harvest, dry, distill and distribute wild herbs and products made from herbs like aromatherapy oils and soaps. Every spring they learn and employ the pickers who comb the slopes.
The little shop in Langada is filled with bundles and boxes of dry wild rosemary, thyme, chamomile, St. John’s wort, wormwood, mint, savory, sage and a strong-smelling citronverbena, with the poetic name of Louisa in Greek. In addition, they cultivated basil, coriander, marigolds and other things within walking distance of their house.
Goat farming in the island has exploded in recent history and the zealous animals roam freely and eat everything in its path, with drought and soil erosion as a result. Vangelis sighed that it was a lot harder to engage pickers than car drivers as shepherds, and that many islanders think woefully short.
But Iamata works: they distribute already herbs to restaurants on the island, including the Taverna Nikos in the neighboring house that specializes in g of organic and locally produced and operated by Vangelis brother. They have been selling dried herbs, oils and other products from their laboratory over the Internet.
Recently they received a visit from a gang of Norwegian chefs who were so impressed that they decided to import the products for their restaurant chain.
Iamata’s laboratory and cultivation gardens attract visitors from far and wide to observe and participate in the activities and build an understanding of the concept and principles of IAMATA. Walks of botanical interest are organised and visitors are also given the opportunity to purchase unique local natural products with quality assured (ISO9001). On top of all this, IAMATA’s dedication to this botanical alchemy attracts people to Amorgos throughout the year, to come and connect with the true aspects of the island which then aides the sustainable development of the local community.
To visit Eleni and Vangalis at the Iamata Shop and Distillery in Langada is a have-to-do at your stay on Amorgos.
Iamata is supported by the European Union.