Panagiotis Vasilakis’ honey company “MKV – Melissokomiki Kerkyras Vasilakis” is based in Vatos in NW Corfu.
This model plant, the pride of the island, was completed in 2007 and includes 350 m2 of buildings, processing equipment, a chemistry lab and packaging technology. It produces certified organic honey, pollen, royal jelly and comb honey, with the quality and hygiene assurance system HACCP certified by ISO22000.
Panagiotis Vasilakis was born in Athens and was a technical consultant with Opel until 2001 when he decided he wanted to change his life and occupation. Having had some experience with beekeeping as a child, he enrolled in a programme for new farmers and began studying beekeeping professionally. His love for bees and their lives as well as his familiarity with technology are apparent as he guides us around his plant. His passion for the subject shines through as he teaches us about the honey production cycle and the way that beekeepers need to respect it and avoid exhausting the bees.
Today (late 2015) Panagiotis has 500 hives, 60 of which are on Erikousa, the northernmost Greek island in the Ionian sea, producing “Erikousa honey”. The rest are divided among six spots on Corfu, producing “Corfu honey”. He produces 3.5 to 4 tonnes of honey annually.
The care and attention Panagiotis lavishes on the hives and the lab – which resembles a maternity ward in cleanliness and order – is also evident in the aesthetics of his packaging. In 2011 the logo on the label of the jars of honey, a diminutive Greek letter “μ”, won an award for best packaging at an annual international competition of organic farming institutions and organizations held in Italy. Panagiotis’s honey also won the silver award among 170 competitors in the polyfloral category, that is honey sourced from various flowers. Panagiotis finished the tour by saying that:
“My decision to leave Athens and devote myself to beekeeping was the best thing I’ve ever done.”