Farmers in the rural area of Kozani, northern Greece, started harvesting the “Krokos” – the local saffron produced by the crocus flower – on Saturday, one of the most important products of the region which have been cultivated for decades.
Hundreds of farmers in the regions of Agia Paraskevi, Kesaria, Ano and Kato Platania Voiou, are found bending over the crops, collecting one-by-one the prized stems of the purple flower.
It is a demanding and time-consuming job which can only be done manually. One kilo of dried “Krokos” stems requires about 150,000 crocus flowers. When the harvest ends, farmers and their workers must separate the flower from the red stems, which are then left to dry naturally at the local cooperative. The product is then packaged and sent to the Greek or foreign market.
“If things go well this year, we expect to increase our production to about five tonnes, as we added another five hundred acres of young farmers in the 5,000 acres already being cultivated,” the president of the “Krokos” association Nikos Patsiouras told ANA.