Carob, the old cash crop of Crete rediscovered

During the past 3 years, the Cretans have realized that the “Cretan chocolate”, as they used to call the fruit, has turned into a well-hidden treasure of the Cretan land.
In the past, all coastal areas of Crete produced carobs, which were exported all over the world, but today the cultivation has declined dramatically.
This year, the demand exceeded all expectation  and there is now a shortage of Cretan carob. Some local companies which use it in various products are forced to buy big quantities from the rest of Greece.

Carobs take the world by storm

A businessman from Rethymno, Ilias Manousakas, who owns a carob processing unit producing a wide range of new products from carob, such as pasta, biscuits, hazelnut spread and balsamic sauce, explained on “Crete Today” broadcast on Crete TV,  that more and more Cretans turn to this traditional cultivation that had been abandoned during the past decades.

One characteristic is that a few years ago, just 2 or 3 bakeries in Crete produced products made of carob, such as bread, cookies and crisp-bread, not to mention that they used imported  carob-flour, while he estimated that there must be about 300 bakeries using a total 100% of Cretan raw materials.

Young carob farmers increase

The old and sometimes forgotten carob trees, in Cretan villages, attract wannabe sellers of the product like a magnet and, as a result, their fruits are not simply harvested, but rather becoming extinct.

At the same time, more and more are those who choose to cultivate carob trees, which are now considered ideal for the Cretan land and do not require painstaking work and large amounts of investment.

Indicative of this is the fact that carob is sold on average at 23 to 30 cents per kilo, while a  mature tree can produce up to 300 kg of pods