Saffron attracts tourists to Black Sea town of Safranbolu
KARABÜK-İhlas News Agency
Saffron crocuses, where saffron comes from, are grown by 18 farmers in an area of 30 decares in the town. The purple-flowered saffron crocus grows from a bulb-like structure called corm. The corms are planted in August in the town and harvested in October and November.
Many tourists from Turkey and abroad visit saffron crocus farms every year during the time of harvesting and have photos taken with the crocus flowers. There are even tour agencies that organize trips to the town during this harvesting season.
A tour agency owner who visited the saffron crocus farms on Oct. 13 said that their customers “had a very pleasant time.” “Not only in terms of visual beauty, but also in terms of their smells, [the farms] they are wonderful. I have taken a bulb [from one of the farms]. I will plant it [when I go back home]; I hope it will stick,” said Fatma Çiçek.
İsmail Yılmaz was one of the farmers whose land was visited by the tourists. “We are picking up the guests from the gate, getting them to tour the farm. We are having them collect saffron flowers and explaining to them the characteristics of saffron. Also, we are selling saffron here.”
Yılmaz also said that saffron farm tours were a big contribution to the town’s tourism. “We had started this business as producers. But now, tourism got ahead of it. During the saffron harvesting period, hotels [in the town] are full, especially during the weekends,” he said.
The reason for its hefty price of saffron is its labor-intensive harvesting method, making the production costly. Since only a part of the flower is used to obtain the final product, the yields are very low. For the production of 500 grams of saffron, approximately 75,000 of these flowers are needed.