Do you like saffron? The only saffron I’d ever had before going to Morocco was saffron rice which I’m sure I enjoyed but I had no knowledge about the harvesting or value of saffron until our trip.
|The farmer's field. Saffron (crocuses) grow underneath the almond trees.|
During part of our travels we drove through an area where the argon trees grow. (And then you start seeing goats in the trees but that’s another story)! Eventually we entered an area where there were also a lot of almond trees growing. Our guide asked us if we were interested in stopping for a cup of tea.
|A typical pouring of the tea - with showmanship|
We stopped in a tiny farming community at a country store and our guide explained to us that we were in a farming community where they grow saffron. We missed the harvest season by a week. At this small farm a group of seven women had already picked the flowers and harvested the saffron. When the flowers are ready to be picked they only have a couple of days to remove the saffron threads from the blossoms.
|Can you see the small threads?|
|I love the purple color of the blossoms|
Saffron is expensive. In fact it is the world's most expensive spice. One pound of saffron can cost as much as $5000 and tt takes approximately 150,000 flowers to yield a pound of saffron. That is a lot of flowers! The little roadside store where we stopped for tea employees 7 neighbors to come help with the picking and harvesting of the spice so this is big business and an important part of this community's local economy.
|Saffron for purchase|
In addition to learning about the process of growing saffron the local farmer’s wife offered us saffron tea. It was delicious and sweetened with local honey.
I’m sure I enjoy many foods with a limited understanding of the efforts of farmers but in the future I’ll be a lot more excited about saffron when I see it on the menu.