Spanish Conquistadors conquered Peru in the “New” World, discovered the flavours of the potato, and carried them to Europe in the 15th century. From Spain, the cultivation of potatoes gradually spread to the rest of the countries of Europe and potato soon become the last resort of the have-nots in Europe who were unable to make their own bread, the nobles and the ruling class possessing at the time all the fertile and long stretches of land and the strong animals to draw the plough for wheat cultivation. Potato, on the other hand, thriving in any kind of soil (sloping, poor or rocky), could be also grown at home and, thus, became a tasty and nutritious solution for the poverty-stricken rural population.
It is said that potato started being cultivated on the island of Naxos at the end of the 18th century. However, it was only in 1830 that its cultivation expanded throughout the lowland of Naxos and became one of the most significant produce of the island affording financial growth and prosperity to the rural population.
In the years that followed, the Naxian potato became known throughout Greece for its quality and taste attributed to the composition of the soil and the climatic conditions prevailing on the island. It is not out of pure coincidence that in the beginning of the 1950s Naxos was officially designated as the centre for the cultivation and production of the Greek seed potatoes.
Nowadays, potato cultivation activities are still being carried out. Approximately 8,000 tonnes of potatoes are produced every year in the village of Galanado and in the remaining villages of Naxos lowland.
The Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Naxos (EAS Naxou) proceeded with a 400,000 euro investment and as of 2014, the potatoes of EAS’s members-producers were anticipated to be packed for the first time and thus the original Naxos potato (protected under Protected Geographical Indication status) would reach consumers in packages of 3kg. The aim of EAS Naxou is to reach a packaging goal of approximately 3,000 tonnes of potatoes for distribution to small and large supermarkets throughout Greece.