Livestock raising – Dairy producing
Numerous herds of goats and sheep are raised on the tall mountain ranges. They are transferred to the lowlands during the summer months, where they are often seen grazing in the hilly areas near the coast . The salt of the sea waters and the saltiness of the air result in a very special taste of their meat and milk.
Livestock raising has always been one of the most basic occupations of the locals, especially those living in mountainous regions, from the very eastern part of the island to the most western part.
Genuine Crete still lives and finds ways to express itself on the mountain tops , the narrow passes, the “mitata” and “koumi” (the places of gathering and milking of the herds- also the huts where the shepherds stayed ). On these spots and anywhere else where modern roads and facilities are out of bounds, you will find original Cretan culture either in traditional “rizitika” songs or in folk music and singing. Needless to say, milk processing and the production of dairy products is done by combining century-old methods with modern means and methods , thus ensuring the quality and sanitation of the product . In modern cheese making plants , the milk is pasteurized first and a special kind of “yeast” is added , it is then heated up to a certain temperature and left to mature for some months before it is given for consumption.
Other well-known cheeses are : “mizythra”, “anthotiros”, “malaka” and “feta” (all soft white cheeses more or less sour or sweet ). The local Cretan yoghurt, produced from sheep’s milk is also amazingly tasty.