Our crocus plantation is located in Durrenentzen, a small Alsatian village between Colmar and the river Rhin. We benefit from a very localized microclimate around Colmar. Thanks to the Vosges barrier, rainfall is the lowest in France.
Alsace is a hot spot of French gastronomy since the region has no less than 52 starred restaurants! This gastronomic wealth has made it possible to develop a network of small producers supplying restaurants with local products.
It was in 2014 that I decided to create my saffron box, which I named "safran étoilé - Star Saffron”, taking inspiration from the Michelin stars awarded by the famous red guide. This name describes my approach well: Produce little to produce well!
Our crocus fields are 0.5 hectares big. They have belonged to our family for several decades. My grandparents and recently my uncle grew vegetables there before it was left fallow. I am the only one working on the crocus fields throughout the year, with the exception of the harvest where we use a dozen seasonal workers. During the harvest, my wife actively supports me, notably by managing the team responsible for removing the pistils from the flowers (pruning).
We practice a biodynamic culture and we do not use any chemicals. All operations are carried out manually, from planting to harvesting, including weeding. Growing saffron requires very little water. On average, we irrigate our saffron plantation once or twice to help start the bulbs' vegetative cycle. The water is coming from the groundwater; we are fortunate to have the largest groundwater in Europe which is fed by the Rhin.
The cultivation of saffron generates no waste. Once the saffron pistils have been taken from the flower, we disperse the petals in our vegetable garden. As the harvest is progressing, a magnificent carpet of purple flowers is gradually being formed. These petals will provide a natural fertilizer for our future vegetables.