Greeks have known and appreciated them for years, but the time has come for the delicious Potatoes from Nevrokopi to become known all over the world. According to the announcement of the Chamber of Drama, the Kato Neurokopi Potato was voted first among many others from around the world, in the Taste Awards 2023-2024 competition of the Taste Atlas Guide for the World’s Best Foods in the relevant category (“Potatoes”) with 4.39 points. Following in the top five are Papa Criolla (Colombia), Yukon Gold (Canada) with 4.37 points, Pomme de Terre de Noirmoutier (France) with 4.22 points and Patata de Galicia (Spain) with 4.22 points. As for the other famous Greek potato, the one from the island of Naxos (Patata Naxoυ), it is ranked eighth, with 4.1 points.
In addition to the rating, the text of the competition refers to the geographical indication, the special climatic conditions and the high quality of the product: “This potato is cultivated in the Municipality of Kato Nevrokopi and in the areas of Kato Vrontos, Perithori, Dasotos, Lefkogeia, Chrysokephalos, Ochyros, Vathytopos and Katafytos. These potatoes were first grown in the region in the 1920s and since then have enjoyed great popularity among consumers due to their superior quality. The potatoes of Kato Nevrokopi are rich in carbohydrates, starch and proteins thanks to the excellent climatic conditions of the area and the sandy soils. They are grown in the summer, to be harvested in September when the temperature is lower and rainfall is higher.”
What makes Nevrokopi Potatoes so special
Potatoes from Kato Nevrokopi are known all over Greece for their superior taste and quality characteristics. The cultivation begun in the Kato Nevrokopi basin in the mid-1920s. In 2002 Nevrokopi Potatoes became a PGI product.
Potato cultivation in the cold basin – plateau of Neurokopi began in the mid-1920s and peaked around 1960. Until then, the main agricultural products were tobacco and other, small-scale, family-owned cultivations. Today, more than 35,000 acres are cultivated with the method of integrated management.
The place is covered with snow for half the year, so there is no possibility of a double crop, which is common in other areas where potatoes are grown. The result is that the soil is not depleted. Cultivation begins around April and after August 15th, the potatoes ripen.
The critical detail that affects the quality of the product is the microclimate of the area. In the summer, when the temperature is 30° C – 35° C during the day, it drops to 15° C – 20° C at night. This rotation saves the plant, produces more product (and of better quality, as it strengthens its dry ingredients, i.e. starch, vitamins and trace elements, which give potatoes their special, delicious taste. The experience of the farmers, as well as the type of soil are also important factors. Especially the soil, sandy and slightly acidic, it is ideal for this particular crop.
The main cultivated varieties are Spunta, Agria, and Lizeta, all irrigated.