Avgi, a tiny village on the border of the Kozani and Imathia regional units in the country’s north, sits on the slopes of Mount Skopos, at an altitude of 880 metres. We were there on a cloudy day, which accentuated the location’s ruggedness. Milk producer Ioannis Altis seemed unperturbed by the conditions, his cows looking even less affected as they searched the ground for fodder.


“Spring is obviously better, but I like being out with the cattle on the mountain every day, from winter to summer,” explained Mr. Altis, who cultivates the fodder he feeds his cows. “And the animals prefer being out, too” he added, pointing at his cows resting languidly.

There are lots of farmers in the wider region’s villages, but few are dairy farmers. Mr. Altis says he has never worked in any other field, nor contemplated such a prospect. He was taught the dairy farming job by his father, who, in turn, learned the vocational skills from his father.

Mr. Altis is one of the Macedonian region’s small-scale farmers supplying their output to dairy company DELTA.

His association with DELTA, going back years, is based on mutual trust. “There has never been any dispute over money, no matter what the amount, delays, or any other issues,” the farmer noted.

Mr. Altis is the only dairy farmer in a tiny village of less than ten people and one of the few involved in this line of work in the wider region. The farmer’s commitment to this tough job and his herd help him get through its challenges.

His satisfaction is evident even while working at the barn performing duties others would find off-putting, to put it mildly. The dairy farmer speaks with enthusiasm when discussing the production process enabling DELTA’s regionally produced “DELTA tou Topou mas” (DELTA of our Land) milk brand to be distributed from the fields of Kozani to refrigerators around the country.

Mr. Altis takes good care of his cattle, providing all required healthcare with the support of DELTA, if more specialised treatment is needed. To produce the company’s “DELTA tou Topou mas” (DELTA of our Land) milk, cows need to be kept healthy and consume large quantities of good-quality food, “from the barley or clover that I grow, what I buy, to the free-range grazing and then the return to the stable for consumption of fodder,” Mr. Altis explained.

From time to time, we read about individuals who have abandoned urban life and moved to small locations in rural Greece, which, for city dwellers, is easier said than done. The tough, solitary everyday living of Mr. Altis highlights this challenge. The satisfaction resulting from the paychecks he receives for his efforts, he says, is greatly outweighed by the “pride I feel for producing milk that is consumed by thousands of people around Greece and contributing to their healthy nutrition. Nothing else makes me happier. I would want to see more people returning to this line of work, but they need incentives,” he added.

The “DELTA tou Topou mas” (DELTA of our Land) milk produced by Mr. Altis’ small herd of approximately 60 cows is probably the finest ambassador a small place like Avgi could have.