In the fall and spring, the farmers at Crocus Bluff Farms are focusing their attention to planting and growing crocus flowers and Crocus Sativus (otherwise known as Saffron).
Saffron has been cultivated for over 3,500 years and is used in culinary and medicinal applications around the world. The sweet vanilla and spice smelling flower is most often used to flavour Spanish, Persian and Indian dishes.
Saffron begins growing in the early autumn and flowers in mid-late October. It continues growing through the winter and reaches dormancy by March.
The most common method of growing Saffron in warm climates is to plant saffron directly in the ground. Given our northern growing season, and our large marmot population (in addition to deer, other rodents, rabbits, etc), Crocus Bluff Farmers are conducting research into the most efficient and sustainable way to grow Saffron as a greenhouse-grown crop.
Harvesting saffron is very labour intensive and not a popular crop among farmers in North America. It takes roughly 70,000 flowers to make one pound of dried saffron. Hand harvesting is the only way to make sure the delicate flower and stigma are not damaged. The harvest takes place over several weeks in October when the crocus is flowering.
Why Grow Saffron?
The results of several clinical trials on the benefits of Saffron have recently been published and the results look very promising. Investigations suggest that by consuming saffron daily you may:
Saffron can be taken as a tincture, dried for use as a spice in cooking, or made into a tea. We are also exploring other options for including saffron in products made by Canadian farmers.
Follow our Blog for updates on saffron and crocuses and Crocus Bluff Farms