A local businessman is bringing the Mediterranean to the Bayers Lake Business Park.
Peter Giannoulis, who owns the Canadiana Restaurant and Lounge, has recently opened the Bayers Lake European Farmers Market on Chain Lake Drive.
“This has been a dream of mine for many years,” Giannoulis said. “I wanted to have a specialty store where people can go and shop at reasonable prices.”
As an advocate for the health benefits of citrus fruit, Giannoulis said he couldn’t find the variety of oranges and mandarins he wanted in the local market, and decided to shop abroad.
“So I knew in the Mediterranean area, especially in Greece, Italy and Spain, oranges and all kinds of citrus have a different taste because of the climate and landscape there. People say they are the best oranges in the world,” Giannoulis said.
Giannoulis’ first order of citrus fruit arrived by container in time for the market’s opening about three weeks ago.
While the shipping costs are expensive, the price of the actual fruit is not, he said, which enables him to market his wares at competitive prices.
Not wanting to exclude local producers, Giannoulis is carrying several varieties of apples, as well as local honey and maple syrup products, and will expand local products as crops become available.
The market is offering a selection of Grade A local and imported European fruits and vegetables including oranges, grapefruit, mandarins, kiwi and lemon.
It also offers other European imports including olive oils, olives, vinegars, herbs and spices, wild rice, cheeses, honey and more.
Giannoulis said the market is still a work in progress, and more international specialty items are coming soon.
“I am a freak to a degree about nutrition, and I want to see kids especially, and people in general, get used to eating fruits and vegetables,” Giannoulis said.
To further promote the benefits of citrus, Giannoulis imported a machine from Italy that makes fresh orange juice on demand in 25 seconds. Each seven ounce glass of juice contains three whole oranges.
He is currently pushing to have the machines installed in local schools and hospitals as a healthy alternative to soft drinks and mass-produced juice products.
Giannoulis is so passionate about good nutrition he has signs posted around the store espousing the health benefits of citrus fruit and the Mediterranean way of eating.
Research has shown that the traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and other serious health ailments.
“As a member of this community I would like to introduce this healthy diet to people,” Giannoulis said.
The market also has a lunch counter where homemade dishes can be purchased, including moussaka, cabbage rolls and stuffed tomatoes and peppers. It will also offer sandwichs and pastries.
The Bayers Lake European Farmers Market is located at 103 Chain Lake Dr. across from the Comfort Hotel & Canadiana Restaurant. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.