CROCUS SATIVUS BULBS
Outsourcing of the production of Saffron and Saffron bulbs (Crocus sativus) leads to a stable supply, a standard high quality, cost efficiency and customer satisfaction. All our Saffron flower bulbs come from Dutch nurseries and are all certified by the Dutch flower bulbs inspection service.
We are the company that is helping and understand farmers with growing and selling Saffron and Saffron bulbs. In order to understand commercial Saffron, it is important to understand how the bulbs grow. More importantly, we are Saffron bulbs growers in the Netherlands that know what is needed for perfect bulbs for the best Saffron.
Saffron is a spice that comes from the flower of the Crocus Sativus. In the flower of the Crocus Sativus, we find three deep-red pistils that give us the most expensive spice in the world: Saffron. Saffron was probably first cultivated in Greece and the region around Greece. Crocus sativus and saffron are depicted on frescos in the Minoan palaces of Knossos (Crete) and Akrotiri (Santorini / Thera), which are about 3500 to 4000 years old (See: History of Saffron).
Crocus sativus is cultivated by humans and does not occur in the wild. The Saffron tuber we know today originated from a long-term process of selection by growers, who wanted to have tubers with the longest pistils to be able to harvest as much Saffron as possible.
Saffron has been widely cultivated in the Mediterranean environment, where the climate is characterised by:
The Crocus sativus bulb can withstand frost with temperatures as low as -15ºC and snow. In the summer, when the green foliage dies off, it likes temperatures that can top 40ºC.
The Crocus sativus Saffron bulb (also referred to as corm) is sterile and the purple flowers do not produce viable seeds. Therefore, the crop must be multiplied by tuber multiplication.
The saffron bulb blooms in late autumn around the end of October until the early stages of November, so quite soon after planting. The flowers appear before, along with or after the appearance of the leaf. The rest of the growing season consists of leaves and tubers that ripen to become beautiful new flower bulbs at the beginning of the summer (in June).
The reproduction process takes place underground in Springtime (March-April-May) and requires human assistance. Clusters of corms, underground, bulb-like, starch-storing organs, must be dug up, divided, and those selected will be replanted.
The tuber that blooms lasts only one season. The mother can produce between 1 and 10 new tubers, depending on the original size of the mother bulb. The mother bulb is effectively consumed by its own daughters. The new Saffron bulbs are harvested in June. Through this process, the Saffraanteler can increase his production area step by step, because the number of available tubers increases over the years.
The lifecycle of Saffron looks as follows:
It is of great importance to make sure the soil is in good condition before planting. We advise to have a soil sample tested. Our experts send the samples to Eurofins Scientific, an organization with more than 38,000 employees and 400 laboratories in 44 countries in Europe, North and South America, and Asia-Pacific. Click here. Based on a detailed analysis of the soil, a specific schedule can be made to enrich the soil, so that the Crocus sativus bulbs have the best chance to thrive and produce the largest possible amount of Saffron.
Traditionally, Saffron growers applied large quantities of old manure to the Saffron fields before planting. Some 30-40 tons per hectare are mixed into the soil. This step has more than one purpose:
The traditional growing methods did not include any use of fertiliser after this initial stage. Based on the results of the soil analysis by Eurofins Scientific we advise on the application of fertilization at certain times of the annual production cycle.
For the planting of the Crocus sativus bulbs it is good to observe certain rules. If you take a good look at the photo of the pickers at the paragraph "Harvesting and drying of Saffron" right below, you will see that the flowers in the foreground are distributed very evenly over the ridges. This can only be the case if the bulbs are also planted at a uniform distance from each other.
It can also be wise - depending on the soil on which you are going to grow and other factors - to grow on ridges, as shown in the photo. This is not always necessary in other situations.
If you want to grow your Crocus sativus bulbs in pots, it is equally wise to plant the bulbs at a specific distance from each other.
We advise you to consult the Planting Guide.
By the end of October or the beginning of November the Crocus sativus bulbs are in bloom. The grower can start harvesting. The harvest is still a very labor-intensive process that must be performed by human hands. Traditionally, families in countries such as Spain, Morocco, India, Iran and elsewhere gather early in the morning, after the morning dew has evaporated, to begin picking the flowers that have opened. The flowers must be harvested as fast as possible, before they wilt. The people usually make very long days, because after picking they go straight inside to remove the pistils from the flowers that have been harvested the same day.
The common technique to harvest Saffron is to remove the flower at the base of the flower stem. This can be done by twisting the stem slightly, or cutting the stem with the help of one’s nails or with tweezers. Not all the Crocus sativus flowers are harvested on the same day. Flowers bloom every day for a period of 2 to 3 weeks. Each flower only blooms for a part of one day and then withers. The green leaf must remain on the bulb. It remains green for months until it finally turns yellow and dies at the end of spring.
Once the stigma have been removed, a very important stage has to begin as soon as possible: the drying of the Saffron. In different countries and production areas, different drying techniques have developed. With the advent of modern technology and machinery, more drying techniques have been developed.
There are a number of techniques that we can briefly mention here:
In all cases - whatever method is chosen - it is wise when you are well prepared. It is also advisable to first do a trial with a small amount of Saffron before drying larger quantities at the same time. If a method - for whatever reason - does not turn out well, then a small test has no disastrous consequences.
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M +31 (0)6 51 23 57 56
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M +31 (0)6 51 57 64 01
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