Yesterday, we received the verdict on this year's saffron harvest:
Just a quick note to let you know that your 2013 saffron consignment arrived safely . . . Wow! It has to be the most vibrant looking saffron I've received this season. It really is stunning!
We're still doing the happy dance. The 5,887 flowers we picked this year yielded a total volume of 40.95 grams of saffron, an increase of just under four times last year's harvest (10.4 grams). Mark, the guy we grow for and author of yesterday's email, had been hoping for more but said that it was probably a good result, given the regional weather conditions over the last six months.
We'd been worried that we'd over-dried half of it. He said if anything, it was very slightly under-dried but near enough to spot-on.
He finished with:
Thank you for the excellent product you produced this year.
It's a huge relief for us. Not only are we going to be paid but Mark's talking about popping down for a visit. It'll be nice to meet him, as we've only communicated by phone and email so far.
Needless to say, I'm very motivated to take extra-special care of our plants for the next season. With flowering over, the beds are full of foliage. This will die off in early summer, feeding the production of new corms, so now is the time to give the plants some extra tucker. I'll start with a bit of delicious worm wee and move on to comfrey tea in mid-spring. That'll make the little darlings' eyes water.
Still on the subject of harvests, despite the drought conditions over summer and early autumn, our soil had improved enough in the vege garden to give us a small surplus of some veges to freeze: 1.5 kilos of bush beans, a couple of kilos of broccoli and rhubarb and 2.5 kilos of tomato pulp. The star, though, was this year's raspberry harvest: 13.8 kilos!
If I could give any advice to a new grower, it would be this: count and weigh everything and keep records. It's the most tangible way of measuring your progress. And it'll remind you why you felt compelled to pay a small fortune for a bloody great chest freezer, just like we recently did.
Posted by Farmer Nik
Thanks to everyone who helped with harvesting and processing saffron (and raspberries!) this year. You made our lives a little easier and we love you for it. x
About Ewan and Niki
Scottish mechanical engineer with a deep and abiding passion for good food. Outstanding cook. Builder of lots of stuff. Cattle whisperer. Connoisseur of beer. A lover rather than a fighter.
Kiwi writer and broadcaster who hates cabbage, even though she knows it's good for her. Chook wrangler. Grower of food and flowers. Maker of fine preserves. Lover of dancing and wine. Definitely a fighter.