Friday, 29 April 2016 14:47

The right place at the right time

Fertile soil through hard labour Fertile soil through hard labour

Pieris Hadjipieris and his wife Chrystalla discovered their passion for organic farming when they were studying in Greece at Patras University, where about 30 students had gotten together to grow their own organic food and sell organic vegetables at street markets.

Upon their return to Cyprus in 1986, they rented land in Yermasoyeia and started their own organic farm, but as Pieris says, “People weren’t ready back then”.

For the young family, however, it was important to live a healthy lifestyle, especially for their children, so they continued to grow organic vegetables for their own consumption and went to work in their respective professions. Pieris works as a civil engineer, currently involved in the renovation of Apostolos Andreas Monastery, and his wife Chrystalla is a mathematician.

A renewed interest
Three years ago, the Hadjipierises opened their small organic farm at their house in Ayia Fyla to the public through Saturday morning markets. Now there is a great interest and without any publicity other than word of mouth, they generally welcome around 50-60 customers every Saturday. Visitors to the farm are of all ages and backgrounds.

Children are always especially happy to come as they get to ‘work’ and pick their own vegetables or even take eggs from the chicken coop and visit Galatia the goat and her kids.

The farm covers 3,000m2 and produces vegetables for about 80 families. Using only organic pesticides and mild conventional ones approved for organic farming, they strive to produce a good range of produce to allow a family to cover all their vegetable needs at the farm. Since the farm was certified, it also began supplying several of Limassol’s organic shops. They have chickens for eggs, and some chickens and rabbits for meat.

Balancing busy lives
“We cannot live from the farm’s revenues, but are able to pay two employees and are happy to have our own home-grown produce for our family. It is not that difficult to be self-sufficient.

“Our jobs are very much mind work and it is relaxing to work the land in our free time,” explains Pieris.

Chrystalla is also a passionate cook and makes pies and pesto from her produce. The aim at the farm is to include everything in a natural cycle. Vegetable trimmings as well as snails (which are picked off the plants by hand) will be fed to the chickens. The chicken manure is then used to fertilise the soil.

According to Pieris, it is a myth that one cannot grow vegetables without chemical fertiliser and that their farm is proof. The original soil was not of very good quality, but through hard work and adding natural manure and compost, they have been able to greatly improve it. There are no future plans for expansion, but the couple is aiming to organise their production even better so that a family can have all its fresh produce from the farm. They are currently looking into keeping animals to produce milk and dairy products.

Visitors welcome
The market which is located near Limassol’s Ayia Fyla roundabout is held every Saturday from 9am-1pm. Directions can be obtained by calling 99628914 or 99332581.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of April 22, 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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