Have you noticed the E.A.S. (Enosi Agrotikon Synetairismon) wine shop in the central Mando Square under the Police Station in Paroikia? It is an outlet for the Agricultural Co-operative Union of Paros. This movement was initiated fifty years ago by a group of vine-growers who wanted to take advantage of the excellent quality of must produced on the island and so bought out the French distillery Botrys which was operating on Paros.
Today the Union (E.A.S.) has 1,250 participating members who are vine-growers, olive-producers and livestock-breeders. By the end of the summer their dairy will have been upgraded to an ultra-modern standard and they also have an olive oil press which covers part of the local oil market.
Always innovative, at the end of March the Union set up a department for the preparation of fresh pasta using top quality flour and local eggs (see advertisement below). This department expects to use six hundred eggs a day, so encouraging an increase in the islandâ€™s livestock. At a time when the people of Paros occupy themselves more and more with the provision of services to the tourist industry, the Union is performing a vitally important role in being actively engaged and dedicated to keeping the agricultural self-reliance of the island at a healthy level.
At the Unionâ€™s market where the products are both displayed and sold, you will find wines of the highest quality, also table wines, Parian Graviera cheese - one of the best in Greece, fresh Mizithra cheese, olive oil in five and fifteen litre containers and, of course, wonderful fresh pasta (tagliatelli, spaghetti, rotini and ravioli). On Mondays and Thursdays you can also purchase ravioli made with fresh spinach and cheese.
In our increasingly industrialized world, the efforts of the Agricultural Union are particularly appreciated by those of us who have chosen to make Paros our home, since they not only provide us with traditional produce, but simultaneously strive to maintain the economic viability of the local agricultural environment - one factor that originally attracted many of us to the island.