The mill started taking part in competitions in 2008, and at the very first competition in Athens the awards started. “We knew that we were producing something very good, something that was also seen by people’s reactions, but also our loyal customers over the years, but there the judges gave us the platinum award,” said Ms Kelidou, much to the surprise of many who did not even know that Makri produces olives.

Gradually, however, with the prizes being an advertisement for the product, the entries continued in competitions outside Greece. So now they have over 130 awards, making it the most award-winning olive oil in Greece and among the top 20 in the world, continuing to chase quality with a lot of passion. “We have a lot of love for what we do, and we have inherited from our family this philosophy: whatever you want to put on your own table, that’s what you give to the rest of the world,” said Ms Kelidou, which is why they always want to have consistent quality, and that’s what their clients appreciate, both in Greece and abroad.

And they have many plans for the future, she stressed, with the support of their customers who for so long have supported them.

Exporting to 20 countries around the world

Thanks to this passion, their oil has crossed the borders of both Thrace and the country, in the smaller glass bottles that they trade abroad. The awards helped them become well-known, but Ms Kelidou believes that “the best advertisement is the consistent quality you have over the years, with someone trusting your product through word of mouth”.

They currently export 60% of their production to 20 countries around the world, from Europe and America to countries such as Japan and Taiwan. They are mainly targeting small shops, such as delicatessens with specific quantities and clientele, although they are always working towards expanding their production.

After all, they no longer use their olives only for the production of extra virgin olive oil, but also for other products. A typical example is their aromatic olive oils, which have proved very popular. They are totally natural and require a lot of work, but they have different flavours: olive oils with garlic, lemon, orange and more.

In addition, they have expanded into the field of cosmetics, with soaps, body oil and waxes, while they will also expand into the field of edible olives. “We want to have a list that meets all the needs of someone who will get products from us,” Ms Kelidou said.

Ages: The miracle of Europe’s oldest olive grove

To meet the highest and most refined requirements from abroad, the mill decided to invest in the ancient olive trees of the area.

Makri, noted Ms Kelidou, has one of the oldest olive groves in the world with over 1000 trees over 1000 years old.

So, having several such estates with ancient trees, they thought it would be good to produce a monovarietal oil from the olives of these trees separately, in a separate bottle.

The whole process took over 2 years to complete, and this year it entered the market under the name “Ages”, immediately receiving very positive reviews,awards both for the quality of the oil and for the design of the bottle.