Growing gold: It’s saffron harvesting time!

Growing Gold: Saffron harvesting
Published: Nov. 16, 2022 at 6:03 AM EST
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CAPE VINCENT, New York (WWNY) - For most local crops the growing season has finished. But for one — saffron — the harvest is just beginning.

Saffron may not be something you’ve considered growing around here. But not only is it viable, it thrives in north country conditions.

They say variety is the spice of life and Karol Carr has a variety of talents.

“I’ve always had an adventurous spirit and a little bit of a green thumb,” she said. “I’m not afraid to try things.”

So, when she saw a magazine article about growing saffron:

“I thought, ‘Oh, I thought that was a Mediterranean thing. Can I grow that here?’ So, I did some research and found out that the North American research center for growing saffron is in Vermont.”

Right now is when the plant starts blooming and the treasure lies inside the buds.

“There are three little stigmas inside each bloom and it’s the stigma that we use,” she said. “It’s called the spice of gold, and the reason for that is it’s more expensive than gold on the open market.

One gram of harvested saffron goes for around $70.

“So, a little pile of saffron is thousands of dollars,” Carr said. “It is the most expensive spice there is.”

But Carr isn’t growing it for the green, she’s growing for the fun of it.

“I’m excited to see where it goes and learn along the way,” she said.

The saffron harvest will last until the end of the month and the glory of the plant is that it regenerates and multiplies its corms, which are similar to bulbs, so you can keep growing more and more.