French Saffron was first cultivated in Southern France by the Romans. After the decline of the Roman Empire, its use all but disappeared until the Moors brought it back again during the Black Death Era as a potential cure. In fact, demand became so strong that Pirates would target Saffron import ships instead of those loaded with gold bars or coins. The disappearance of a Saffron Ship even sparked the 14 week long “Saffron War”.
The Saffron Fields of Provence… When you think of Saffron, you probably think of golden hues, exotic scents, and warm climates in faraway places. But Provence? Olives and Lavender, yes… But never once did I consider it as a viable Saffron growing territory. The Crocus bulbs that are responsible for Saffron (Crocus sativus (Iridaceae) have one very important soil requirement – excellent drainage. Crocus bulbs hate wet feet… So, after all, what better place than Provence with its rocky terrain and hot dry climate!