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AEGEAN ISLANDS

The oak forests

The Homeric hymn to Aphrodite says that with each oak tree a nymph is born. The mountains of Kea are full of oak trees which had a big financial importance for the Tzia people in the past. The shell of the tree’s fruit, the “chamada”, contains large amounts of tannins and other substances useful in leather tanning. The used to feed the swine with the fruit, while they supplied the entire production of chamada to the tanners of Kalloni, in Lesvos, or to countries in Europe.

The harvest would start in July before the fruits ripen, or they were gathered from the ground until September. The coal-fired ovens  were set near the oak trees. When the chemicals replaced the natural processing materials, the oak tree cultivation failed. Today, these forests are preservable.

Nowadays the effort to gather and utilize the harvest has restarted.

 

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