Historically in France, saffron had long been grown in Provence and the Loire Valley before being abandoned. But there is a renewal, and saffron fields can be seen again dotting the landscape around Mont Ventoux.
It is very difficult to know the exact origins of the saffron crocus. Its bulbs were introduced in France by the Crusaders. Saffron had already been known in Egypt and Mesopotamia for many millennia.
Saffron thrives in the contrasted Mediterranean climate, with harsh winters and hot summers. Autumn rains encourage flowering while those in March help the bulb grow.
The plant requires handpicking and therefore a lot of workforce. In addition, it takes 200,000 stigma to make 1kg of fresh saffron, of which 5kg are needed to make 1kg of dried saffron. Which explains its price.
Harvesting takes place in autumn.
100 to 110 flowers per m² produce about 1 gram of dry saffron.
Now you understand why saffron is priced between 19 and 34 €/gram.