Buffeted by strong winds, seared by a hot sun and often grown without the aid of irrigation, the food crops of Santorini are hardy survivors packed with flavor, despite their difficult growing conditions – or perhaps because of them. The PDO cherry tomato, the yellow peas known locally as fava, the white eggplant and the other local produce, indigenous or not, are the stars of the much-admired local cuisine. But for how long will they be available? Ironically, these plants are facing another battle for survival, as Santorini’s farmland comes under pressure from construction and tourist activity. Thankfully, there are still farmers who are fighting against the odds to keep their land and to pass down age-old wisdom and skills to the next generation. But a farmer’s life is hard – even more so during periods of drought, such as this past winter – and not that many young people dream of working the land, either. So, next time you’re tucking into a delicious dish of fava purée with onions or a mouth-watering Greek salad with Santorini tomatoes and capers, remember that this isn’t just food; it’s a way of life and a philosophy for those who have committed themselves to toiling the soil here.