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Photo by Erik Karits on Unsplash

Before class, we worked in the garden with Marilena and her young son, harvesting spinach, rocket, a colourful variety of lettuces, purple-striped aubergines and aromatic herbs. Cooking done, we gather around a long outdoor table, enjoying wine produced on the farm and the dishes we’ve made together. Lunch doesn’t end until the evening sun slings a golden hue across the silver canopy of the farm’s organic olive grove.

Whether it’s through garden-to-table cooking classes like this or a chance to help with the olive or grape harvest, Eumelia’s guests are invited to roll up their sleeves, get back to the land and experience a slower, more traditional side of Greece.

The farm is near Gouves village in the Laconia region and a world away from modern life. Together with her husband, Frangiskos Karelas, Marilena offers a variety of experiences that vary with the seasons. During August and September’s grape harvest, guests can join in and “stomp”, pressing the grapes to music, learning to make wine and tasting natural wines from across the Peloponnese. A five-day immersive olive oil experience in October and November sees guests harvesting olives from centuries-old trees and learning about olive history, oil varieties and pairings, and organic production. Cooking classes, culinary tours, yoga and massage are available year-round. Five cottages shaded by olive trees offer a comfortable night after a long day in the fields.

Magna Grecia Agriturismo, Ancient Olympia, Ilias

Alexis and Francesco Karabelas grew up learning to produce high-quality olive oil on their family’s farm a short walk from Ancient Olympia. The brothers returned to the farm after university, bringing new ideas for sustainable cultivation: they implemented organic practices and designed a modern olive oil mill to streamline production. In 2022 and again this year, Karabelas oil won gold awards at the World Olive Oil Competition.

Orias mountain guesthouse & farm, Kerpini, Arkadia

This down-to-earth guesthouse is on a 20-acre organic farm at nearly 1,000 metres at the foot of Mount Chelmos in the northern Peloponnese. Giannis Chouliaras and his colleagues invite guests and day visitors to work in the gardens, help with the farm animals and, each October, participate in the grape harvest and pressing.

Mama’s Flavours, Kalamata, Messinia

To this end, Maria and her partners lead culinary and agricultural tours and experiences in the seaside city of Kalamata and across the Peloponnese, offering access to small-scale farmers and other producers. Guests can choose from a variety of experiences including visits to cheesemakers, vineyards and wineries, an organic olive farm and traditional stone mill, urban food tours, wine tastings and cooking classes.

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