Farmers in the rural area of Kozani, northern Greece, have started harvesting krokos, the local saffron produced by the crocus flower. Krokos are one of the most important products of the region and has been cultivated for decades.
Hundreds of farmers in the regions of Agia Paraskevi, Kesaria, Ano and Kato Platania Voiou, are found bending over their crops collecting the prized stems of the purple flower one-by-one.
It is a demanding and time-consuming job which can only be done manually. One kilo of dried krokos stems requires about 150,000 flowers. When the harvest ends, farmers and their workers must separate the flowers from their red stems, which are then left to dry naturally at the local cooperative. The product is then packaged and sent to the Greek or foreign market.
“If things go well this year, we expect to increase our production to about five tonnes, as we added another 500 acres of young farmers in the 5,000 acres already being cultivated,” the president of the Krokos Association Nikos Patsiouras told ANA.