Armenia can produce SAFFRON and make good money
Posted 11 April 2013 - 07:23 AM
I say Armenia can, if not already doing, because 90% of world's Saffron used to come from Iran. If it grows in Iran then most likely will do in Armenia.
That two red strings are the saffron, they are known as delicate stigmas of the Saffron crocus, or crocus sativus: a crocus plant with bluish purple flowers in the iris family, they grow from bulbs, few bulbs can mutlipy into many in time. A kilo of those best Krokus saffrons from Greece sells for $2600 a kilo. To produce one kilogram of saffron, about 150,000 crocus flowers have to be picked by hand and the precious stigmas carefully plucked from the flowers.
Here is an article that gives the reader an idea of what the beef is about:
Red Gold: Saffron Cooperative Thrives amid Greek Crisis
By Manfred Ertel
As the economic crisis ravages their country, a community of Greek farmers is prospering. Their cooperative specializes in saffron, the world's most expensive spice, which is keeping the community afloat and attracting global attention.
In these hard times, it's hard to find a place in Greece where people still look forward to the future, except perhaps in the country's far north, in Krokos on the Macedonian plain.
Nikolaos Patsiouras is one of the satisfied residents in the town of about 5,000 people, which is surrounded by rocky fields. "We have no debt, our exports are doing well and we are healthy," he says proudly. "We are pioneers for Europe."
They used to call him "little German boy" when he was a child, because of his blonde hair and blue eyes. His hair is now silver-gray, and the 57-year-old is the president of the local cooperative of about 1,000 saffron producers, the only one of its kind in the country. The area around Krokos is world-famous for its red saffron, known as "red gold," the rarest and most precious spice on earth.
Krokos produces 1.5 to 2 tons of saffron a year, which sells for up to €2,000 ($2,600) a kilo. The farmers export the highly delicate stigmas of the saffron crocus to the United States, France, Germany, Canada and Australia. With world production at about 200 tons, Greece's share is relatively small. But about 90 percent of total production comes from Iran, which is having export difficulties because of its nuclear policy and Western sanctions.
Besides, the red saffron from Krokos is prized among top chefs. "We are the best," says Patsiouras, a stout, amiable man with rimless glasses. Medals from international awards are stacked on the cabinet behind him, and certificates hang on the walls. "Why else does our saffron fetch up to €500 more per kilo than saffron from Iran?" he asks.
Patsiouras' job is an unpaid position. He has no privileges and plays no special role. The cooperative pays 90 percent of its proceeds directly to the farmers. This is rare in a country where nepotism and corruption plunged an entire nation into crisis.
To become president of the cooperative, one must be a saffron producer. Patsiouras grows crocus sativus, a crocus plant with bluish purple flowers in the iris family, on about a hectare (2.47 acres) of land.
He used to be one of 2,500 spice farmers in the region, but many young people moved to the city over the years. There was a huge exodus around the 2004 Summer Olympics, when the entire country was experiencing an economic boom. Three years ago, there were only 580 saffron producers left in Krokos.
Part of the reason is that it's very hard work. To produce one kilogram of saffron, about 150,000 crocus flowers have to be picked by hand and the precious stigmas carefully plucked from the flowers. The harvest is concentrated in a two-week period in late October and early November. "Each time you ask yourself: Why am I doing this?" says the cooperative's president.
But he also delights in the harvest every year. "There is something magical about saffron," he says. His family has been growing crocuses for at least four generations. The plant was considered extinct in Greece until a few bulbs were brought to the area from Vienna about 300 years ago. There has been documented cultivation on the Macedonian plain since then.
Farmers Return to amid Crisis
Why the precious flower with expensive stigmas does so well in the region is a mystery. Is it the climate, with the Vourinos Mountains providing protection from the wind, the persistent fog and the unique, sandy soil? "To this day, we still don't know what is so special about our location," says Patsiouras.
Now that the debt crisis and austerity measures have forced the entire country to its knees, young people and former farmers are returning to Krokos. There are now as many saffron farmers as there were 10 years ago, when the Krokos region produced six tons a year, making it the world's second-largest producer. Thefarmers hope to regain that position in the next two years by doubling the amount of land devoted to the crocuses and tripling production.
In Germany, red saffron from northern Greece sells for up to €13 per gram. Chefs are scrambling to get it, especially now that British food inspectors concluded that saffron from Spain was of lesser quality, in terms of color, aroma and taste. It was also the British media that exposed Spanish exporters who had been repackaging and relabeling cheaper Iranian saffron.
Europe still works in Krokos, and Patsiouras believes in a common future. With bulbs from Austria, praise from London and the usual agricultural subsidies from Brussels, he says, "we are a European project; we are nothing without Europe."
- MosJan and Johannes like this
Posted 11 April 2013 - 11:44 AM
at one point in history a country's power was measured by how much safran it had . just like gold...
Posted 30 May 2013 - 10:09 PM
May 29, 2013 by Tony Isaacs
(Health Secrets) The health benefits of saffron are legendary. Saffron is a reddish-golden colored spice derived from the styles and stigmas of the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus). Used primarily as a seasoning agent, the health benefits of saffron make it one of nature’s most powerful herbs.
Saffron is native to the Mediterranean and Western Asia. It has long been the most expensive spice in the world by weight, ten times more costly than vanilla. How does saffron merit such a hefty price tag? It takes 80,000 crocus flowers to make only 500 grams of saffron after toasting. Despite its cost, many herbalists and natural health enthusiasts consider the health benefits of saffron to be worth their weight in gold.
In ancient cultures, saffron was used to relieve stomach aches and kidney stones, and as an agent for improving blood circulation. The health benefits of saffron were recognized in the US long ago and some grandmothers still mix a few sprigs of saffron in hot milk for their grandchildren to drink. Today the health benefits of saffron are recognized for a wide variety of health conditions, and many of its benefits have been validated by scientific studies.
Saffron contains a number of carotenoids which are believed to be largely responsible for the health benefits of Saffron, which include inhibiting skin tumors, improving arthritis, and improving eye and vision health. In a recent trial, every participant who took saffron had vision improvements and researchers said this aromatic herb “may hold the key to preventing the loss of sight in the elderly”. Notably, saffron has been reported to significantly help vision in the instance of cataracts.
Saffron also contains the compound crocin, which scientists believe to be the primary compound responsible for study results showing saffron promotes learning, memory retention, and recall capacity. Based on the study results, scientists believe that saffron might be useful in the treatment and management of age related mental impairment.
Among the multiple health benefits of saffron are the treatment of asthma, menstrual discomfort, depression, atherosclerosis, whooping cough, and many other health problems. Some studies have also indicated that saffron has anti-cancer properties as well.
The active constituents in saffron are known to produce positive effects on people with neurodegenerative disorders.
Massaging the gums with saffron helps in reduce soreness and inflammation of the mouth and the tongue.
More health benefits of saffron include:
*Medical studies have shown that saffron helps in enhancing oxygen diffusivity in plasma and other liquids while improving pulmonary oxygenation.
*It also helps to lower high levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
*Saffron can be applied topically as a paste to relieve dryness and other skin conditions.
*Saffron has also been used in combination with other herbs as a remedy for insomnia, coughing, flatulence, indigestion, and baldness.
How to use saffron
Due to the handsome prices it demands, there are many adulterated and fake products being dyed to imitate saffron. To determine whether or not what you have bought is fake or adulterated, immerse a bit of the product in warm water or milk. If the liquid colors immediately, then the saffron is fake. Genuine saffron must soak in either warm water or milk for at least 10 to 15 minutes before its deep red-gold color and the saffron aroma begin to develop.
If used as a food additive, avoid using too much. Too much can give foods a bitter, medicinal taste.
When using saffron in supplement form, do not exceed recommended dosages.
For more information:
About the author Tony Isaacs
Tony Isaacs, is a natural health advocate and researcher and the author of books and articles about natural health, longevity and beating cancer including “Cancer’s Natural Enemy“. Mr. Isaacs also has The Best Years in Life website for baby boomers and others wishing to avoid prescription drugs and mainstream managed illness and live longer, healthier and happier lives naturally. He is currently residing in scenic East Texas and frequently commutes to the even more scenic Texas hill country near San Antonio and Austin to give lectures in health seminars. Mr. Isaacs also hosts the CureZone “Ask Tony Isaacs – featuring Luella May” forum as well as the Yahoo Health Group “Oleander Soup“. He is working on a major book project due for publication later this year. Mr. Isaacs and his partner Luella May can be heard live every Wednesday evening on “The Best Years in Life Radio Show“.
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