Italy: Saffron from Trento

An experiment that brought good results, has resulted in the number of saffron bulbs increasing year after year. Silvia Cis is the owner of Pinabel, located in Val di Ledro near Trento. Lake Garda is only 15 km away, yet the grounds are 700 above sea level.

Silvia Cis holding a saffron flower

"I started 5 years ago, and I also grow aromatic herbs. Everything holds the organic certification. I thought about saffron because our altitude is similar to that of the L'Aquila province, so why not try?"

The experiment went well and now Silvia Cis' saffron is well known, with both restaurants and hotels requiring it as a local speciality.

Saffron crop

"I went to Abruzzo to learn the technique. I plant the bulbs I get from L'Aquila in late summer. Plants become visible already in late September and blossoming is in late October-early November. I harvest the open flowers every morning," explains Silvia.

Jars ready to be sold

Mulching films are used so water can flow easily as bulbs suffer in the case of water stagnation. Manure is used as a fertiliser and no treatments are needed. A three-year rotation cycle is implemented.

"Once the flowers are harvested, we remove the pistils and dry them for approximately 20-24 hours with a dehumidifier. Dried pistils are then weighed and I prepare 0.20 gram jars. The price per gram is never below €20."

Dried pistils

Silvia's plot is still rather small, but it's enough to meet the needs of the numerous hotels and restaurants in the Garda area. New land and new films are prepared every year to increase production.

Flower ready for harvesting

"I want to increase production to meet all demands but it's not easy. There is a lot of labour involved and one needs to be well organised. Anyway saffron from Val di Ledro is much appreciated."

Via Giacomo Cis 2
Bezzecca di Ledro (Trento) - Italy
Tel.: (+39) 349/6118386

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