Saffron is the dried stigmas that are detached from the harvested saffron crocus. The saffron crocus has purple flowers and comes into bloom only once a year in Summer and are harvested in October. Due to the fragile nature of the stigmas of the crocus that are 3 to 4 cm in length, the stigmas must be hand removed and also for the harvesting of the crocuses this is done by hand as well because a machine would decimate the delicate petals of the flower. It involves a very hands on labuor intensive method for production and harvest and this is part of the reasons that reflect in the price of saffron. Experienced buyers who buy saffron know that as with most commodities of quality and high value you very much get what you pay for and should beware of people selling grade 1 saffron at very low unreal prices as what seems too good to be true is going to most likely hurt you so watch out and shop in a reputable outlet like ours to avoid the rogues on the internet.
After harvesting the stigmas from the plant the blossoms are thrown away, so quite a large amount of waste compared to just 3 stigmas that are produced by each saffron crocus. Saffron farming worldwide is carried out by small farms, not by co-operatives and not by corporate bodies. As a result traditional methods of ensuring quality are the only form of checking the quality and originality of the saffron. There is however an ISO industry standard certification that all quality saffron producing farmers will be awarded and they will sell their saffron in bulk in conjunction with a formal ISO certificate to validate the quality and authenticity of their saffron spice. Learn more about saffron history.