“Valorising the Uniqueness of Lemnos” – significant workshop about artisanal dairies

“Valorising the Uniqueness of Lemnos” – significant workshop about artisanal dairies

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The second on-farm artisanal processing workshop titled “Artisanal Dairies on Lemnos – The Ark of our Cheese-Making Tradition” proved to be particularly significant for the island’s livestock farming.

On January 13th, at the building of the Cultural Association of Atsiki, we had the honor of hosting Dimitris Roukas (M.Sc.), agronomist, Ph.D. candidate in Animal Husbandry at the University of Western Macedonia, and scientific advisor of the Regional Unit of Pieria. As Mr. Roukas emphasised, artisanal cheese dairies provide us with the opportunity to showcase the rich gastronomic and cultural heritage of our local agricultural production.

The process of establishing an artisanal dairy, by the livestock farmer themselves, has now been legalized, regulated and simplified. For instance, the building itself can be a simple construction very close or adjacent to the barn. Traditional, locally produced dairy products are characterized by unique organoleptic characteristics and have a low ecological footprint.

The educator encouraged participants to use traditional stone-built mandras (muti-purpose complexes of small agricultural buildings) as maturation chambers for the traditional cheeses produced on Lemnos. This is because on the stones, there are microbial communities of indigenous bacteria, which play a significant role in the cheese-making process. They can modify the natural and chemical properties of the cheese and influence its organoleptic characteristics, differentiating them from those in other regions and other cheese dairies. These aspects contribute to the unique “fingerprint” of traditional local cheese products. 

In conclusion, the presenter stressed that artisanal cheese products not only have nutritional value but also hold cultural significance. Milk production and the preparation of dairy products represent a way of life, embodying local knowledge and customs that are part of our living agricultural heritage.

Upon completion of the workshop, all participants received a certificate of attendance!

This workshop is part of MedINA’s project “Small Farm to Market” and is the second in a series of workshops focusing on on-farm artisanal processing and food tourism. Additionally, the project supports certified Terra Vita producers and promotes the certified products.

MedINA’s goal on Lemnos is to empower producers and create opportunities for the youth, while preserving the island’s agrifood identity.

We extend special thanks to Dimitris Roukas for his outstanding presentation, openness, and friendly atmosphere that allowed everyone to come together as a group, learn, and exchange views on on-farm artisanal processing.

We also thank Giorgos Komakis, President of the Cultural Association of Atsiki & Propouli “Agios Ermolaos,” for providing the venue.

The workshop series and the entire “Terra Graeca: Small Farm to Market” programme are implemented with the support of John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation.