Meet Carter Imports- An American Greek family with lots of soul!

Happy Tuesday! I am so excited to announce 3 new exciting featured interviews coming up on the blog!

Today we are welcoming Carter Imports from the Stockton California area. (Of course I am always happy to welcome the California Greeks on my blog.)

Sit back, relax, and enjoy this 10 question interview with Carter Imports.

Q & A Interview with Carter Imports

  1. How did Carter Imports come about?

Carter Imports came about after our family trip to Greece in 2017. Having returned after 20 years, I had a chance to truly experience the unmatched quality of Greek goods, especially honey and extra virgin olive oil. I also knew that Greek products were just not represented in front of US consumers. So I wanted to share the word that Greeks make quality products. At the same time, this was coming off the heels of a severe economic downturn in Greece, and I truly believe that in promoting Greek products and making that the first choice among consumers, more people will buy Greek products, helping the Greek economy.

Now the really important part of all of this is how I came up with the name Carter Imports. Not a Greek name for a company dealing with Greek imports right? Well, when we went to Greece in 2017, we didn’t realize that my wife was pregnant. Rather far along. Unfortunately, not long after we got back we found out we were having a boy…then had a miscarriage. It was devastating to our family and something that we still think about daily. But with the loss, it forced me to take a look at what was important and valuable, and realizing how time is precious I decided to go ahead and take a shot and pursue this dream.

2. We have a mutual friend in common so we found out via Instagram! Andreas Saviolakis who happens to be featured in my second cookbook. His Cretan honey is simply amazing! How did you come across the Saviolakis Cretan Honey?

Andreas is the absolute best, and I love working with him! We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well now from working together, and I’m excited to work with people that share similar visions and values. It makes me look way less crazy (lol).

So my original thought to import a product was to import honey. Greek honey, especially Cretan Thyme Honey, is second to none. So good in fact, it’s featured in best selling cookbooks my certain top Greek chefs that I know (buy Krystina’s book!!).

I was fairly far down the road knowing what products I was going to bring, so I launched my social media pages and Andreas reached out day one asking if I would have interest in Cretan Thyme Honey. Being that was a product I wanted to showcase anyways, I said yes! And not to brag but I was 100% right. We have not been able to keep it in stock. Every time we get it, we sell out, including selling out in TWO HOURS the last time we had it. I have no qualms in saying this is the best honey in the world.

3. How did you decide to carry Greek products? What was the inspiration behind this?

Greek products are the best in the world. Natural, healthy, and authentic.

The motivation for sure was on one of my last nights in Crete the last time I went. I was talking with the shop owner of a really good Gyro place, and he was lamenting just how bad things had gotten. Young people leaving, government issues, the whole gambit that the country had dealt with in the fallout from 2008.

Greek people are good people. Always have been and always will be. Tough times hit and dragged everyone down, but we’ve shown, for THOUSANDS of years, and unmatched resiliency. When it comes to the world stage people will always talk about our contributions to government, philosophy, math, science. But I want to talk about our contribution to what we do three times a day. Namely, we eat, we eat well, we drink wine, we celebrate life. Food is a vehicle. Greek is a lifestyle.

4. Where is Carter Imports located? What brands of Greek products do you carry? Do you plan to expand on your line of products?

We’re located in Stockton, loud and proud. We have an amazing Greek community here Currently, I carry Elia Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Crete, and that is my baby. I did all the legwork and FDA/Customs clearance to break a brand new product into the US. I’m proud to have been able to say I did that.

We also carry Cretan Thyme Honey as I mentioned from the incredible Saviolakis family in Crete as well. They are amazing people from the rugged region of Sfakia. This honey is literally unmatched!!

Our portfolio is expanding in 2020 with new offerings, I encourage everyone to visit my website and sign up for my email list, or follow our social media pages to see the next new offerings.

5. Where can the general public purchase Carter Imports? Do you carry any of your products outside of your website?

We’re primarily an online business, and that was another focus for us, allowing the maximum global reach that we can. So you can find our products on our website.

However, we are growing retail wise! We have found great partnerships with our winery friends, and we are available at several local deli’s. As well, we have two grocery partners, in Rinaldi’s and IGA in Lockeford.

6. Growing up in a Greek family what are the top favorite dishes you would enjoy? Any Cretan specialties?

I love Dakos, which is your Greek bruchetta. In California, I’ve had fun adding avocado to the mix. It’s ridiculously good. When it comes to Cretan foods, there are two standouts.

When I was younger, I remember grabbing the kamaki and heading out to look for octopus, with my theia, then seeing her add some wine and cook it. Second to none.

My mom makes two excellent dishes, tzatziki, supercharged with garlic, and kalitsounia which is Cretan mini cheese pies.

7. Chris, you seem to want to help spread the love for Greek products much like myself. Can you tell my audience why they should buy Greek?

I like getting philosophical. Why should you buy Greek? Thousands of years of tradition? A proven way to eat better and live longer? Maybe it’s cultural?

I’ll share this story. This holiday season, I had someone give me a call that I met at a food festival. Incredibly nice guy. He calls and says my olive oil reminds him of his summers as a teenager in Mani. Just the freshness, the taste.

I want to invoke a feeling. Every time I have my honey, or my olive oil, it takes me back to warm summers, cicadas chirping, beautiful beaches…. I cant involve that feeling with everyone. But giving the gift of Greece is special. We’ve got a history.

8. I believe California is lacking in Greek restaurants at the moment especially Northern California. Do you have any favorite Greek restaurants you would suggest to our audience? Any special ones from Stockton?

I Do I Do! Yasoo Yani in downtown Stockton is a staple, authentic Greek food from the Aftias family. They baptized my mom, we go way way way back. They are a great family, really good people. Also in Stockton, our friends opened up Go Falafel as a food truck and dominated so hard they opened a retail front. It’s really good. Finally, my friend, Sammy opened up the Greek Fork in Lodi, and it is so good authentic Greek flare. He has a small location and it usually sells out, so I encourage people to go early and go often. He’s really good people.

9. What is your favorite Greek quote?

“Know Thyself” -Socrates

I think it’s the most relevant to anything. You have to know who you are before you do ANYTHING.

10. Who is your #1 favorite Greek chef to look up to and why?

Don’t make me play favorites! Do you know who my favorite is? The ones that showcase how awesome Greek cuisine is, which is all of them.

With that being said, I know this one that just dropped a BRAND NEW COOKBOOK, who is a pretty big advocate of Greek cooking and Greek food, so people should check out her new cookbook, A Drop Of Ladi & My Greek Soul.

Thank you very much to Chris, owner of Carter Imports for coming on the blog today! We hope you enjoyed this fun interview and don’t forget to follow Carter Imports on social media.

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