Meet Babis & Janina
A few words can't tell, but anyhow . . .
Babis was born in Chania, Crete, where he grew up, a son of a butcher who would take his son with him into the mountains to buy sheep and goats allover the western part of the island..from village to village.
He has been a sailor, and a smuggler of precious stones between far away countries long ago. He came to shore in France in the 1970's, where he studied sculpture at the 'Academie des Beaux-Arts' in Paris. Returning to Greece after the end of the military junta in 1974, he had a restaurant at the quay of the Venetian harbour in Chania for some years. A place still remembered by many... Some years then went with agricultural works- collecting olives, oranges, with sculptural work and designs both in stone and wood.
Babis has a profound understanding of Cretan nature, botany, people and history, knowing places hidden to most.. Babis uses his artful skills, profound knowledge, love for and communication with the plants in the collection and distillation process. He has become a master distiller, knowing and sensing the needs and requirements of each plant.. Even though distilling for more than 25 years, still each single distillation is a unique process, a unique experience of transformation and wonder . . .
Janina was born in Berlin, Germany, moved to Denmark at a quite young age. She lived in the community of Christiania in Copenhagen in the 70's, where new values were lived and experienced in an international community. Moved to the Danish island of Bornholm in1981 and had a restaurant, Cafe Luna, there in the town of Allinge, together with a girlfriend from 1986 and until 1992, likewise a place still remembered by many.
Always interested in herbal medicine, plants, health and philosophy, Janina holds a MSc degree in phytochemistry with emphasis on natural products, is a qualified herbalist and aromatherapist, and holds a BSc degree in nursing. Worked with analyses of essential oils for some years. Freelance work in scientific plant research, publishing and education.
Janina contributes with her understanding of and love for plant- and human nature combined with her natural curiosity, in collection, distillation, uses of plants and natural holistic medicine for the benefit of humankind.
The collection, distillation and use of aromatic wild plants and their essential oils embraces all the aspects which makes life on earth truly wonderful- a true integration of the Physical and the Spiritual. Of fragrance, expression, art, health and beauty. She is still amazed by the wonders of nature in its free expression and by the all-embracing interconnectedness of beings, plants, animals and humans...
Together we have established WILD HERBS of CRETE, collecting and distilling essential oils exclusively from wild growing aromatic plants in Crete in 1994. We share a profound love, understanding and knowledge of aromatic and medicinal plants in general and Cretan plant-life in particular. Always roaming the many splendid remote areas of this island, which in itself is like a miniature continent providing a multitude of biotopes and home for nearly 2000 plant species, we share an interest in the conservation of Cretan nature and botany and a general holistic, ecological and sustainable outlook and way of life.
Crete is one of the most fascinating places for botanists with its multitude and diversity of plant-life, its mountains and gorges, maquis and shores. Around 9% of the plants are endemic to Crete, grow only here and nowhere else in the world. Crete is aromatic, wherever you are, the fragrances fill the air as you walk or climb in nature...Crete is beautiful, many-coloured and ever-changing, as the landscapes fill with their seasonal flowers...Crete is palatable, there are so many fruits, nuts, wild vegetables..
The mild climate allows us to live outdoors a lot, be in the nature, climb, tour the mountains, and even though we have roamed a very many places, we still discover magical places new to us, are amazed and surprised by the variability and diversity of Cretan nature....