This is Zoes, the greek goat herder. Sitting in the back off his pick-up truck, we drove to his small farm high in the mountains. There, he had 100 sheep and goats, a horse, a cat and two dogs. We started-off by milking one of the goats. Everyone got to try, milking directly into a glass and drinking the milk while it was still warm.
We spent the following hours walking the goat mountain trails with Zoes, winding our way through bushes, wild oregano and poisonous plants. Just like his ancestors had been doing for over three thousand years, or since lions were still the greatest threat to the lambs. Finally we reached the top where he was standing with his sheep in the baking sun, smiling, waiting for us city people to catch up with him.
A lot has been written about inefficient production methods and lack of competitiveness in Greece, following the crisis. And Zoes' ancient and perhaps outdated production methods are truly inefficient. But one can compete on more than cost-efficiency. His lambs roam free in the stunning beauty of the Parnonas mountains, living on wild herbs, which results to the best lamb meat I have ever tasted outside of Iceland. And it's all organic.
He doesn't just do this because it is his job. He does this because this is his "zoes" - his life. And he doesn't do this because this is the only thing he knows. He does this because this is what he knows better than anyone else, understanding the plants, the climate and the landscape better than anyone. His knowledge has been fine-tuned and perfected with wisdom accumulated over millennia.
Few people if any have as strong a connection to their heritage and history as the Greeks. It is their legend. And maybe that is exactly where the competitive advantage of the Greek people lies: in their passion, in their production heritage, in their legend, in their "Meraki".
- Christiana Gardikioti, GoGreek Experience Provider