Between visits to orchards, vineyards, monasteries, livestock research centers, and olive oil mills, there was certainly no shortage of field trips during our module in Crete. There was one field trip, however, that was quite different than all the rest—our visit to Pilot Beach Resort (mute your speakers), a five star hotel between Chania and Rethymno.
Now, I know what you’re wondering: what does a five star hotel have to do with farming?
Plenty, actually, in the case of Pilot Beach.
Nikos #2 works for Pilot Beach and manages the resort’s organic olive orchard. They process their olives into oil exclusively for the hotel. Not only do they use it to cook food for the amazing buffets and restaurants at the resort, but each guest also goes home with a 500mL bottle as a parting gift. And speaking as an insider, I can tell you that this is quite a gift—it is really, really good olive oil.
Nikos took us on a tour of the orchard and the fields where they grow vegetables for the restaurant. The veggies aren’t organic, but they’re planning on building some greenhouses in the next few years, and those will be managed organically. He also showed us the facilities where they handle recycling (plastic, cardboard, and—believe it or not—cooking oil!) and food waste. They are taking great strides to be as sustainable as possible.
But of course, the highlight of the trip for me was when we got to see some animals. Haha!
It was really fun to see an example of how I could combine my recreation degree with my organic farming degree. That is the master plan, of course, but it was inspiring to see it in action. I hope that my future properties will be as classy and sustainable as Pilot Beach.
Read more about my Cretan adventures here.