Greeks had been cultivating saffron for 3 centuries within the nation-state surrounding Krokos, which takes its identify from Crocus, the saffron flower. Alexander the Nice is claimed to have used it to heal fight wounds.
However till 2000, manufacturing was once restricted to 30 kg a yr for home intake, stated Nikos Patsiouras, who heads Greece’s Cooperative of Saffron.
That modified in 2008, when the disaster hit. Greece now produces about 4 tonnes a yr, 70 p.c of which matches in another country. The Cooperative has doubled its individuals from 494 to one,000. It additionally has larger its land from 592 acres in 2008 to one,349 acres.
“Numerous younger other folks discovered paintings within the fields — scientists,” Patsiouras stated. “I imagine extra will sign up for.”
Indicators of the disaster are visual throughout Krokos, the place shuttered retail outlets line the streets. Unemployment in northwestern Greece is 23.five p.c, 3 issues upper than the nationwide reasonable. However the fields are abuzz.
“We now have God on our aspect, who gave us one of these distinctive product,” Patsiouras stated. “We cling directly to it just like the apple of our eye.”
Saffron grows simplest on this area of Greece. Advertised as Krokos Kozanis, one gram prices about 4 euros in Greek retail outlets.
It takes 150,000 flora to make a kilo of the spice, which sells for approximately 1,500 euros. Plant life are handpicked, and on the cooperative ladies in blue total weigh and package deal it. They’re forbidden to put on makeup and fragrance, to offer protection to its flavour.
Iran is through a ways the arena’s greatest saffron manufacturer, however call for for the Greek selection is emerging, Patsiouras stated. Greece is in talks with China for exports in 2019.
Within the Patsiouras family, 3 generations have amassed after an afternoon of harvesting to take away the saffron strands from the flora and dry them.
“If we do not switch this practice to the following era, we will be able to fail,” stated his daughter-in-law, Maria Patsioura.