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The North American Center for Saffron Research and Development 


A Golden Opportunity for Diversified Growers in New England
Whats the big deal about Saffron?

Crop diversification and market expansion is essential for success of small family farms in New England. Increasingly, high tunnels (unheated plastic hoop houses) are used to overcome unpredictable climate events. These structures allow growers to extend the growing season, providing conditions in which to grow crops that otherwise would not survive. Early tomatoes and winter greens are commonly grown, but competition among growers for a limited market is high. This led us to consider other lucrative crops. One is SAFFRON, the most expensive spice in the world ($5,000/lb retail). Saffron—stigmas of a fall-blooming crocus—is also known for its medicinal properties as an anti-carcinogen and to combat depression and reduce cholesterol. Over 25 tons of saffron was imported to the US in 2013. Saffron is hardy to USDA zone 5/6, though it is doubtful it would provide high yields if grown outside. In 2015 we conducted the first VT trial, growing saffron in plastic milk crates and raised beds in a high tunnel. Yield surpassed that reported for key saffron-growing areas (1.39 gr/sq. m (VT) compared to 0.6 gr (Spain fields). The retail price of organic saffron in Vermont is $19/gr. Based on our yield, saffron could generate $100,000/acre. We estimate the net revenue per sq. ft from saffron at $4.03, compared to $3.51 for tomatoes, and $1.81 for winter greens.

 

Saffron produced in these trials was analyzed to compare crocin and saffranal content. We determined that in general the saffron produced in the Vermont high tunnel was comparable to that from Iran, Spain, Pennsylvania and Italy. This project has generated significant interest among growers and the press. Work is continuing to further confirm the suitability of in-crate saffron production, and assess the economic feasibility and markets for saffron.  To learn more about this work check out the links below. 




saffron flowers
Join Saffronnet !!!!!

This is an international internet network established by the North American Center of Saffron Research and Development for those interested in growing saffron or learning more about ongoing research and other related initiatives. It was established to facilitate communication throughout the world among those involved directly or indirectly with production, processing and/or marketing of saffron and its related value-added products. It is intended to be used by subscribers to exchange information on growing, processing, production, quality analysis, medicinal properties and marketing of this high value crop.  The network can also be used to post questions, inform subscribers of conferences and job opportunities or any matters related to saffron. Subscription to this network is free and open to anyone in the world.  You are invited to join this information network and may do so by sending a request to Dr. Margaret Skinner at  mskinner@uvm.edu


Click Here to View the Archives of Saffronnet
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Support for this project has been received from the following organizations:

Center for Lake Champlain Watershed Research, Innovation & Implementation

Herb Society of America

Charles L. Cantrell, USDA ARS

UVM College of Agric. & Life Sciences

American Meadows

Thomas Dairy Farm

Monument Farms Dairy

Old Castle Architectural

Roco Saffron

For more information, contact:

Margaret Skinner at: Tel: 802-656-5440, mskinner@uvm.edu  or

Arash Ghalehgolabbehbahani at Tel: 802-656-5441, aghalego@uvm.edu



Entomology Research Laboratory, University of Vermont, 661 Spear Street, Burlington ,VT  05405,  Tel: 802.656.5440 - Fax: 802.656.5441

Last update: March 2017     
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