Arcadia is synonymous with the image of unspoiled natural beauty, and this eastern section of the Peloponnese lives up to the ideal. Our beekeeper’s hives are dispersed throughout the area of Mount Parnon, a mountain range protected as part of the European Union’s Natura 2000 network. The diversity of the landscape, with its mountains, gorges, and forests, supports a rich biodiversity of flora that in turn supports the honeybees.
The Fasilis family has been practicing beekeeping in this area since the 1930s, when Theodoros Fasilis purchased an apiary and brought it by donkey to the village of Pragmatefti, where the current storage facilities are located. In the 1950s, the next generation began to sell honey throughout Greece while passing down traditional apicultural knowledge to the current generation, another Theodoros. This younger Theodoros has brought the family business to the next level by modernizing its storage facilities and certifying the operation as organic. His distinctive honeys are the direct result of generations of experience and a genuine love for the practice and the place.
Fasilis places his hives in the area around Mount Parnon, changing their location depending on the season and which plants are in bloom. In late spring and early summer, the apiaries can be found in the fir forests and amidst the thyme plants that blanket the Arcadian landscape. In the late summer and early fall, when the pink autumn heather comes into blossom, the bees move to the hillsides of the Dafnon gorge in Leonidio. This uniquely Greek combination of dynamic topography, rich flora (1,200 of the country’s 6,500 plant species are found only in Greece) and longstanding apicultural tradition is the reason for the quality and variety of Greek honey.
Regardless of location or variety, our honey production is organic, which means that the bees’ foraging area is free of pesticides, they are never fed antibiotics or synthetic supplements, and everything from hive construction to honey processing adheres to standards that keep the operation as natural as possible.
Once the apiaries are in place, the native European honey bees get to work on their favorite plants. The bees collect nectar from thyme and heather flowers to turn into nectar honey, and they collect honeydew (a sweet substance that aphids produce from tree sap) from fir trees to turn into the prized but less commonly known variety of honeydew honey.
Our beekeeper collects the fir and thyme honey from early June to late July and the heather honey from October to November. With a suit on to protect himself from bee stings, he fills a smoker with dried and fresh pine and sets it alight, using the smoke to calm the bees while he opens up the hives.
Fasilis then pulls out the honeycomb and collects the fresh honey, always leaving a sufficient amount in the hives to sustain the colony over the winter. Unfortunately, many other honey producers harvest most of the honey and leave the bees with a supplement like sugar or high fructose corn syrup.
At the storage facility, the honey passes through a large sieve to remove debris like branches or the occasional bee wing, but it doesn’t undergo filtration or heating that would diminish its nutritional profile. Our honey, unlike pasteurized honeys or processed sugars, contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, as well as small amounts of bee pollen, beeswax, and propolis.
Due to its relatively high protein and glucose levels, heather honey crystallizes quickly. Thyme honey, with a lower glucose content, crystallizes more slowly - and fir honey never crystallizes at all. Crystallization can be beneficial for uses like spreading the honey on toast, or it can easily be undone by placing the jar in warm water.
Honey is an excellent sweetener and works well as an alternative to sugar in just about anything. Our honeys are equally wonderful in beverages, in sauces and dressings, or even in homemade skincare products. They’re also worth trying on their own in order to appreciate the incredible differences of flavor between them.