Canada's first farm dedicated to growing saffron, the spice that's worth more than its weight in gold, is getting ready to harvest its first bumper crop.
|Source : Wikipedia.org|
But even that will weigh less than a pound of butter.
Pur Safran, located in the small Quebec village of St-Elie-de-Caxton, expects to harvest 450 to 500 grams of the precious spice before the end of October.
"We would like for Quebec to become self-sufficient in saffron production, because we can do it," said Pur Safran co-owner Nathalie Denault, who not only produces the spice, but teaches other potential growers the ropes.
Saffron comes from the reddish-orange stigmas of a particular crocus flower and is considered to be the most expensive spice in the world.
Denault and farm co-owner André Laplante travelled to France to learn how to grow it and came back to Quebec to run a series of tests.
Once they were sure they could start production in Canada, they set out to find the perfect patch of land.
Of the 50,000 bulbs imported from France, only three didn't survive last winter's record-breaking cold temperatures.
Denault says the saffron flower can be burned by the cold, so needs a thick snow cover to thrive.
The flower's biological clock works opposite to that of most crops.
The bulbs sprout in the fall, bloom into a fragrant purple flower which only lasts 24 to 48 hours, then reproduces by splitting into more bulbs under the snow. The plant's dormant phase is in the summer.
Source : Farmmarketer.com