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saffron crocus

 
Posts: 1947
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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Does anyone use this as part of a guild? I just saw these in the Fedco Bulbs catalog and I thought local saffron might be a crop that would be worth trying. I know it takes lots of flowers to produce much, but since it is valuable, maybe it would be worth it.
 
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I have thought the same and will be purchasing bulbs in the future. I am hoping for good results since the PA Dutch have been growing saffron crocus for ages.
 
steward
Posts: 1748
Location: Western Kentucky-Climate Unpredictable Zone 6b
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Might be good for a value added product - locally grown saffron. Prepackaged saffron rice spice mix maybe.
 
steward
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Saffron also has many medicinal uses. Due to its cost/scarcity in this country, you may be able to sell surplus to herbalists.

Some info here: http://www.academicjournals.org/jmpr/PDF/pdf2010/18Mar/Moghaddasi.pdf
 
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Location: Slippery Rock, PA
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I have it. I love it. I don't particularly use it as part of a guild. What I love is that it is one of the last flowers in the fall, and the leaves tend to stay green all winter, so it is a nice addition to almost any permanent planting.
 
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I've been getting bulbs every year with the idea that I will stop buying them when I have enough. It's a great plant. Looks fantastic and smells amazing. They seem to at least double in quantity every year if they're in a good spot with enough sun and drainage. They rot pretty easily from what I gather.

I'm not exactly sure how they would benefit a guild besides being a late blooming flower, but I put them very close to the base of trees as they seem happy there and I have a formula for finding them later. I would say the big value add to growing them yourself would be freshness. There's something special about them when they aren't all dried and shriveled. You'd have to charge an arm and a leg to make it worthwhile. If you assume 13k+ strands make an ounce, at 90 some odd dollars per ounce, you're looking at 1 cent per strand. You would have to capitalize on the localness and the freshness of this to consider it a real cash crop. If anyone has any contrary experience and actually makes money off of it, I'd like to hear about it. For me, this is a personal use sort of thing or great for presents.

On that thought, I would imagine that you could make a whole lot more money selling the bulbs than the actual saffron strands. Just keep in mind that the bulbs do not store well at all. I've been happily buying bags of the bulbs for about $20 a pop. I can guarantee that I won't make that money back selling saffron, but I could easily see it happening with the bulbs. I'll bet if you put a bulb in a nice looking container and sold it on the day it was blooming that you could fetch a price worth the effort.

Here's a video of me messing around with my saffron plants:
 
pollinator
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I'd think Calvin would have it right. Can you imagine picking enough saffron to sell? That is a lot of hours of labor. My time is worth a lot and I don't think people would be willing to pay it.
 
gardener
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Location: Northern Italy
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A farm near me recently plowed 2 acres and planted saffron, and that's it.

They hand-sort the flowers and pull out the saffron (or whatever the processing they do). They seem to be doing well with it. Saffron could be a huge money maker if you have the time and energy to get it into a packet. The price per pound is astronomic.

William
 
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I have farms of saffron over 5 hectares which is entering into its third year now. Since there is plenty of space on beams around its bed, I am searching for companions/guild plant to grow and not found anything yet on it. This post is here for many years with many participants shared their engagement with saffron. Your experience on guild or companion with saffron would be highly appreciated. Thanks
 
pollinator
Posts: 406
Location: Vermont, USA
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The University of Vermont Agriculture Department has done some studies on whether this could be a profitable crop in Vermont.  It's too cold here to grow in the field, but they devised a method.  You can read about it here:

http://www.uvm.edu/~saffron/about.html
 
pollinator
Posts: 214
Location: Gulf Islands BC (zone 8)
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I've been looking into this species too, as it seems that this could be a good crop for coastal BC.  

I've read that the bulbs multiply quickly. Has this been the experience of those of you who are growing these already? How fast do they multiply? I am wondering whether to start small and use natural multiplication of the first bulbs to expand the crop over the first couple of years or jump in with a larger investment in bulbs. I'm pretty sure there would be a decent market for locally grown saffron here.

So far it seems that the suppliers I've found in Canada are sold out for the year, so I may have to delay til next year and get an order in earlier in the year. Does anyone know of any suppliers in Canada who still have bulbs available this year?

 
Andrea Locke
pollinator
Posts: 214
Location: Gulf Islands BC (zone 8)
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For anyone who might be still looking for saffron crocus, here's a spot you might not have thought to check. In the fall bulb display at the grocery store! Of all places.

I was gobsmacked, but there they were with all the daffodils and whatnot, within arms reach as I waited in line for the checkout. Marked as saffron crocus and correct species name and photo on the front from a reputable ornamental bulb company.

No idea how the size of the bulbs compare to the commercial sellers but hey, they were even priced cheaper per bulb than the sold-out commercial seller. So I grabbed most of the packets in the bin and we will see how they produce next year. :)
 
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Location: SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS, CA
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I planted saffron bulbs a few years ago in my food forest. I have them planted with daffodils, gladiolas, crinum, and freesia. In addition to the saffron threads, they are a wonderful attractant for the bees in the Autumn. They bring so much joy to the Fall. Just as things are winding down for winter, these beauties spring to life.
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