CULTIVATION
 
Stevva grows Stevia in Giannitsa, Greece, where the climate and soil conditions are ideal for cultivating this sweet plant
 
Cultivation
Stevia is grown best in semi-humid, sub-tropical climates with long days of sunshine.

Stevva grows Stevia in Giannitsa, Greece, where the climate and soil conditions are ideal for cultivating this sweet plant. Stevia is grown best in environments with long days of sunshine. It is native to semi-humid, sub-tropical climates where temperatures typically range from -6°C to 43°C. While tolerant of mild frost, hard frosts will kill the roots of the plant. It is a perennial plant that can be harvested several times a year if grown in an optimal environment.
 
Seasonality
Time of harvesting depends on variety and the growing season. Generally, harvesting occurs twice, in mid to late October when plants are 40-60 cm in height and in July. Optimum yield (biomass), and stevioside quality and quantity are best just prior to flowering.
Irrigation
Irrigation is to be considered as complementary to rain. Since rainfall can't be guaranteed, irrigation is needed in the critical periods such as the implantation period, after harvest and during high temperature peaks. An adequate water supply will avoid stress in the plants, which will result in less diseases and better biomass production.

Production and Planting
The geographical location will determine the months of the year in which the seedlings can be brought to the field. There are two alternatives for planting the seedling: with bare root or coming from a tray with the corresponding root ball. If done with a machine, 3 or 4 workers are needed to plant 1 hectare per day.
Processing
Drying of the woody stems and soft green leaf material is completed immediately after harvesting utilizing a drying wagon or a kiln. Depending on weather conditions and density of loading, it generally takes 24 to 48 hours to dry Stevia at 40°C to 50°C. An estimated 21,500 kg/ha of green weight is dried down to 6,000 kg/ha of dry weight. Dry leaves are stored in plastic lined cardboard boxes, sealed, strapped and labeled for further processing.

Refining
Once Stevia leaves are picked, separated from their stems and dried on the farm, they are shipped to the refinery. After being refined, the final product is distributed to major food and beverage companies such as Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle and countless others worldwide.
Future Plans and Projects
In addition to increasing its production of Stevia, Stevva plans to broaden its scope and market reach by introducing other crops that are in high demand for additional profit growth and risk mitigation purposes such as quinoa and chia seeds. The company also has plans to develop a training center for the cultivation and production of stevia for Greek and other farmers who want to know how it is done.
Ultimately, the company has plans to integrate vertically to convert the dry leaves into the final product that can be directly sold to companies such as Coca-Cola and Nestle for use.