Traditional Organic Farming
About 15km away from Rethymno on the road towards Arkadi, Agreco Farm enjoys a fairy-tale location with vineyards and olive groves overlooking the Cretan Sea. Agreco Farm embodies the vision of Crecotel Hotel Group to showcase Cretan diet and Crete’s agricultural life.
Resembling a 17th century Venetian village, the buildings of this small settlement are developed around the central square located in the middle of the farm.
As you arrive, people from the farm welcome you. Loosing yourself in their magical daily routine is so easy to happen. As you walk next to a stream, listening to the gentle sounds of water running from the watermill, you’ll find yourself bending to harvest marjoram, peppermint, basil, rosemary; everything happens so naturally here. Depending on the season, you can also take part in artichoke picking, harvesting of olives, grapes and other seasonal vegetables.
The farming life circle unfolds before you here. In the basement of the water mill, the water wheel rotating under the force of the falling water will leave you amazed while in the basement, you’ll get to watch the rotating mill stone grinding the grain. With the flour produced, you’ll watch the ladies of the farm as they make before you various goodies, such as bread, cookies, savoury small pies or a simple type of bread that resembles to lagana (the Lenten flat bread normally eaten during Ash Monday), before they bake everything in the wood oven and then, offer everything back to you to enjoy!
Agreco Farm boasts an olive press and a wine press, open depending on the time of the year. If you are lucky, you’ll get to smash grapes with your bear feet in the wine press. Are you sure you know how to use your feet? Distilling vessels used for making raki, Crete’s fire water, the device for extracting oil from olives and beehives wait for you to discover them here.
A unique surprise is reserved for children and why not, for grown-ups as well. The farm houses a mini zoo home to pigeons, deer, Cretan wild goats (the famous Kri Kri), wild boar, cows, sheep and goats.
The farm tour culminates in a Cretan feast at the taverna offering spending views under the deep shadow of the pergola. I read all the menus available; the menu for lunch, dinner, the creative cuisine menu and the menu with the appetizers: the dishes offered here constitute a unique selection of the best Cretan flavours! Omelette with asparagus, artichokes and apaki (a traditional Cretan cold cut made with lean pork meat, marinated in wine vinegar, smoked with various aromatic herbs and finally coated with a layer of spices and herbs), ascrolibroi (wild herb, the crunchy roots of the common golden), fried snails with rosemary and vinegar (hohlioi boubouristoi), aubergines with chondro (a Cretan cereal made of sour milk and cracked wheat), sautéed goat, Chaniot pie (a meat pie made of boiled lamb and cheese), chicken with fresh Cretan hand-rolled pasta (skioufihta), rooster with home-made egg noodles, goat “antiskisto” (antikristo is a traditional way of cooking lamb or goat in open fire. Lamb is cut into four pieces that are pierced with a sharp piece of wood. When the wood fire is lit, meat is placed around the fire taking into consideration the intensity of the fire, the distance of the meat from the fire and even direction of the air that is blowing). Everything I tasted here was a pure delight for the palette.
Luckily, all that you get to do and experience in Agreco farm in one day is presented in an amazing 2 minutes video!
And here is a paradox: Instead of experiencing Crete’s holistic gastronomy and human-oriented way of life in a family-run guesthouse, you experience it in a farm that was set up by the largest Greek hotel chain, Grecotel. The Operator Manager of Grecotel, Dimitris Kalaitzidakis, agreed with us.