Candili Natural organic farm Report from Sarah and Anders in September 2022

This is an Interview with Sarah and Anders, taken part in Dio pigadia – our permaculture Farm in Pylos, Greece.

We wanted to know how they got to Greece, where they stayed before us and how it was.

Sarah and Anders stayed in September 2022 at the Candili Natural organic farm.

How you did you hear about this farm?

We wanted to go to Greece and we checked wwoofing for ecological farms. They answered and said we were welcome. Project was appealing: it is a greek family couple with two young children who moved out of Athens looking for a different lifestyle and it resonated with what we wanted to experiment. They had nice pictures of the area and the mountains in Evia (Candili”). 

We came from Athens and took the bus to get there. They were very helpful and gave us a greek message for the bus driver so everything went smoothly.

The first impression was amazing, they were waiting for us with a greek vegetarian meal, some lentil soup and a Greek salad and delicious olive oil. We met the family: the two kids, also the grandad who was very sweet, the animals (a dog and a cat, lot of goats, cute pigs, chickens). They showed us around. Another German girl volunteer came at the same time and we got to know each other. We stayed the three of us for the whole september.

How was the accommodations?

Nice we had a caravan we shared the 3 of us, it was big and comfortable. They had made a whole area for volunteers with a nice little house with a kitchen and a place to eat. There was a beautiful outdoor solar shower with a view on the mountain. Also dry toilets.

So did you share meals together?

We had what we needed to make our own meal but we would regularly share meals. Some time the grandmother would come and cook nice traditional greek food with vegetable and meat from the farm. Actually all the meat we ate there was from the farm but it’s no problem being vegetarian or vegan they have plenty veggies to feed you.

How was the work experience?

We had a routine of feeding the chickens, harvest for the food Kiosk where they sale their products (vegies, eggs, marmelade, tomato sauce, sometime goat cheese) then we would have different tasks depending on the day, natural/upcycled building projects, we prepared beds and started planting different kind of Kale, salads and leaks for the winter. Lot of the job was tomato sauce making because it was the season. They were very passionate about the quality of the product. Sometimes we would take care of the kids but this was extra and only because we wanted to.

What are they producing at Candili Natural farm?

Mostly veggies, some fruits, and some goat cheese/eggs.

What did you learn there?

They gave us many responsibilities which was nice. It was very inspiring that they live with little, exchange locally, and really believe in an alternative lifestyle. They were really conscious people and we had great discussions about alternatives to the modern lifestyle. We were talking about so many things but the concerns about the modern lifestyle were similar to those we talk about at Dio Pigadia.

It was great to learn about another culture, in a real Greek family. We also learned a lot about farm life. Also when “papou” (granddad) was not here we were also taking care of the veggie kiosk selling products and exchanging with local people which was really enriching. We really felt at home there, like we were part of the family. If you had ideas on what to do they would encourage you to go ahead and do it. We really learned how to make the best greek tomato sauce!

What about Weekend activities?

One time we went with their tent to camp to the closest beach where we hitchhiked to. It is really easy to hitchhike in the area. Another time we went together to the beach. And another we we went to an Eco festival in Xalkida, Evia.

Would you recommend Candili Natural Farm?

Absolutely! It is perfect especially if you want an authentic greek experience in a Greek family for an alternative lifestyle in a quiet and secluded wilderness. We really enjoyed their critical vision and hope for an sustainable alternative future closer to nature.

Have the best time if you have the chance to go there!
Sarah and Anders

What others think about us

  • Avatar We learn as we wander ★★★★★ a week ago
    My daughter and I only wanted to visit Dio Pigadia for one afternoon but we ended up staying three weeks. It was a truly great experience for us and we … More both enjoyed taking care of the animals, gardens and veggies on the farm and fell in love with this little paradise. We ate daily together with the other volunteers amazing fresh meals with very tasty vegetables from the garden, helped out at a beach clean up event and even went sailing together.
    Saying goodbye was a hard one here but we both know for sure we want to come back, so it's only bye for now and thank you for everything Jules.
    Lia, Jenny and Tito
  • Avatar R Bungener ★★★★★ 2 months ago
    What an incredible place where nature and humans work in collaboration to enable sustainable living and agriculture.
    Not only is Dio Pigadia in gorgeous
    … More setting, in the hills between Pylos and Methani, the people there are also really nice. A must visit whether you're a volunteer or visiting the area (they do hope evenings on Fridays!).
    They also have rental cottages (Nectar Pylos) which are a gem to stay in if you're visiting.
  • Avatar Jules Canquelain ★★★★★ a month ago
    What a magical place to take a break, get away from this world where everything is going too fast. Here, we get closer to the most essential things in … More life: the earth, love, autonomy, good vegetables, animals, crafting and the most important !! INCREDIBLE FOOOOOD !!
    All of this in a wonderful community of sharing and mutual aid.
    What a pleasure to take care of mother nature and help her as we can.
    This is where it all begins !
    Thank you family
    See you soon 🫶
  • Avatar Hugo Prd ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    We worked there as volonteers for a month and it was truely an amazing adventure! Such a good atmosphere and filled with nice people. We learned a lot … More ans had some small responsabilities in the community, which is a thing we loved.
    Jules is so welcoming and always ready to share about his project!
    We miss you already and can't wait to come back!! Love
    Julie and Hugo
  • Avatar Kajsa ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Dio Pigadia is a little slice of paradise. A safe haven for people who want to slow down, get into the earth and reconnect with nature. Beautiful gardens … More and veggies, you can really tell that everything is made with the principles of permaculture in mind. Staying as a volunteer is so great, the work is fun and rewarding. The people who are attracted to this project are beautiful and I have learned so much! Thank you Jules and the rest of the team
  • Avatar Lucia Christ ★★★★★ 8 months ago
    Dio Pigadia...what a place!
    I came as a volunteer to stay for six weeks and it turned out to be such a great and interesting time. Learning "little"
    … More farming skills, building a relationships with all the animals around, laughing at the shared meals with all the other volunteers, getting an image about how we can treat our environment in a sustainable way...
    I would definitely recommend joining for some time as a volunteer or just looking by to enjoy some veggies and olive oil!
    Thanks for this experience Dio Pigadia and Jules, the "Master of Mesochori" (and the "chef" of the farm, but don't call him that ;)!
  • Avatar Theresa Aston ★★★★★ 11 months ago
    Very impressive small-scale farm in the Peloponnese region of Greece. The olive oil they produce is the best I’ve ever had, as well as the tomatoes, eggplant… … More everything here is delicious! Truly a (healthy) culinary experience! The owner Jules is a very inspiring guy with a refreshing philosophy of what sustainable living entails. Don’t miss an opportunity to visit! Definitely worth it for the delicious food, friendly animals, and beautiful community :)
  • Avatar Noel Gilmartin ★★★★★ 10 months ago
    I recently visited with our family during the August peak, when the farm is open to visitors on Friday evenings.
    It was a perfect evening and the atmosphere
    … More in this secluded, elevated location with the beautiful evening sky and stunning countryside, with views all around was truly magical. You could feel the presence of the ancients who surely farmed these hills before us!
    On arrival we received a really friendly welcome from Jules, the principal, who immediately invited us on a tour of the farm and was keen to explain everything about the philosophy of the operation.
    Jules, a Frenchman, is the kind of charismatic, almost messianic, personality that you can connect with right away.  He's a great communicator and a very open person who has great enthusiasm and energy for this project. He doesn't have fixed ideas about how the farm, which is still in the early stages of development, should proceed. He knows he's doing, but seems very open to ideas and suggestions - for example a volunteer had recently set up a website and social media presence for the farm.
    Jules is passionate above all about farming sustainably, and you can see this from the mulching on the soil (contrasting with the usual ploughing / cultivation).
    But the overall impression on this particular evening was of serenity and harmony of people together with nature.
    The products on offer taste fantastic - e.g. organic peppers & varieties of tomatoes, aubergines, and jars of ratatouille, tomato paste, olive oil... wow!
    Jules is also aware of the current alignment of Dio Pigadia with the post-Covid zeitgeist - the great awakening or reset of values - that life is more than the corporate 9 to 5,  (a bit like the Woodstock generation?), and there's a better partnership with nature to be achieved, especially through the smart use of technology now at our disposal. Volunteers work on the farm and for a variety of tasks - the perfect environment to experience nature, sustainable farming and companionship. Pay a visit and see for yourself!
  • Avatar Jan Schulz ★★★★★ 8 months ago
    We stayed in dio pigadia for one month, it was our first time as volunteers and it could not have been better!
    To cook everyday with fresh vegetables from
    … More the garden, eat the freshest (and maybe best) olive oil, work with our hands and always be surrounded by animals was
    We also learned much about permaculture, biodiversity, sustainability, to compost and to cook marmelade or peti mezi, the nectar of the greek gods.
    However, for us the best and also most in depth experience was to talk with other peoples from all over the world and especially with Jules about our western society, climate change, to learn to question the way we live in every aspect and to get new ideas for the future.
    So it was a really enriching stay and we are full of respect for Jules, his project and his vigour to try to spread his ideas.
    We totally recommend to visit the farm when you are in greece and we hope to come back one time!! Thanks Jules.
    Inga and Jan
  • Avatar Hans Van Dam ★★★★★ 10 months ago
    The combination sailor and landman is a common one on the islands in the Netherlands (in the old days). It was very nice to see Jules recalling that principle … More in Greece again.
    He is equally good and dedicated to both.
    His dedication is seen for sailing in the beautiful work he did on his wooden sailboat and even more in his diligence with which he started and developed this lovely Dio Pigadia 9km from the sea.
    Using old and often forgotten principles of cultivating the earth and crop, he developed the most fantastic veggie garden and olive tree orchard.
    He is the one giving you biological olive oil and vegetables with the real taste they should have and nutritional value that mono culture farmers have long time forgotten.
    And for volunteers: the relaxed atmosphere Jules and your colleagues have on Dio Pigadia is enough reason to apply for a place where you can learn about permaculture.
    It was a real pleasure to meet you and I wish you all succes you deserve. Good Luck.
    Hans, Zephyr