December 1, 2023


The fine suplement crafters

Growing ‘red gold’ a labour of love

Right before the autumn mist has lifted from the Teviot Valley, workers are in the fields at Wynyard Estate Saffron harvesting the lavender bouquets from the Crocus sativus.

The stigma of the plant is saffron — the world’s most pricey spice, generally recognised as “purple gold” for rates that vary from $40,000 to $50,000 a kilogram in New Zealand.

Wendy King, who owns Wynyard Estate Saffron with her partner Graham Sturdy, claims to deliver 1kg of saffron necessitates an regular of 125,000 flowers.

She is clearly enchanted by the plant, which is a corm instead than a bulb, referring to it as “she” and supplying it female features.

The bouquets wanted to be picked just before they open up, so the morning mist could be beneficial on times like this crisp autumn morning, she mentioned.

“Like most girls, she does not like coming out on chilly mornings.”

Crocus sativus propagated by division, relatively than setting seed, she explained.

“No bee pollination required, no male required — she’s really self-sufficient.”

Harvest and processing of the lively spice was labour-consuming, as the bouquets experienced be picked by hand, then their petals unfurled and the treasured stigma taken off for drying.

The saffron threads were being then bought in .5g, 1g or 2g weights for use in cooking, created into saffron-infused items or sent to Alaron Products in Nelson wherever they ended up built into a supplement to assist and retain eye well being.

The few planted their 1st corms on their Ettrick residence in 2012, and experienced their to start with harvest the adhering to yr, achieving 1kg of premium grade a person saffron in the 2016 harvest. The following year, they experienced plenty of saffron to start off developing the eye supplement.

The company had very first been prepared as a “retirement desire” and Ms King explained she was happy they started off it earlier, as in the starting the pair did all the function themselves.

“We required some thing wherever we could build a minor business in the pure wellness line.”

Dr Powerful holds a PhD in botany from the College of Otago along with even more coaching at the University of California Davis, and Ms King was a chef in the Royal New Zealand Air Drive.

Ms King stated there ended up additional than 100 producers of saffron in New Zealand, and the spice from New Zealand and Australia was known as an artisan product, and of increased quality than that of some of the world’s much larger suppliers, this sort of as Iran.

Wynyard Estate’s saffron was the best excellent sargol — an Iranian expression that practically interprets as “top rated of the flower”.

That meant there was no floral squander remaining on the base of the stigma, and Ms King showed a sample of her saffron threads beside an Iranian solution labelled 100% pure, in which you could see the lighter-coloured “waste” at the finish of the threads.

Harvest lasted for 6 to eight weeks, the increase phase remaining the middle 3 to four months.

“The to start with pair of weeks are very constant and constructing, then about the third 7 days it goes psychological,” Ms King stated.

The “mother” corm generated eyes, like a potato, which each individual sent up a shoot which would flower. Throughout the peak of the time, every shoot would flower each day.

The mother died at the conclude of the year, and her offshoots took her location.

Ms King claimed they dug up and redistributed the new corms each individual second 12 months, and experienced just below 2ha in manufacturing.

Irrespective of its sensitive bouquets, it was a hardy bulb, tolerant of most soils and lying dormant around winter so not needing irrigation.

Evidence of the pudding, as it have been, for the high-quality of the saffron was that Wynyard Estate experienced numerous customers in Iran.

“They really like it,” she mentioned.

“They’re thrilled by the high quality.”

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