Saffron may have long been among the world’s most costly spices by weight, but Arcadia grower Lisa Menhenett said you’d have to have a lot of the flower’s vivid crimson stigmas and styles to get a commercial weight.LAURA GRIFFIN April 29, 2014 3:07am
Saffron may have long been among the world’s most costly spices by weight, but Arcadia grower Lisa Menhenett said you’d have to have a lot of the flower’s vivid crimson stigmas and styles to get a commercial weight.
Mrs Menhenett started growing saffron about five or six years ago, after reading an article that sparked her interest and buying bulbs off the Stanley (near Beechworth) grower it featured.
She and husband Lee also bought bulbs from Tasmania and in their first season planted about 150 bulbs.
At the time, she was working from home and looking after children Teagan (now 12) and Reily (now 10).
It has been a case of trial and error for the family — for example, in the first year they planted bulbs in different soil types and found they like light, well-drained soils best and plenty of sunlight — and unfortunately last year, the harvest was too small to warrant having a stall at Echuca Farmers’ Market.
Mrs Menhenett said this year’s crop was also likely to be small.
‘‘This year, the flowers are very late and the plants were late growing,’’ she said.
‘‘Normally by now they would have flowered.’’
She doesn’t know whether they will flower late or very little.
The saffron bulbs (or more specifically crocus) grow similarly to garlic — all propagation is by vegetative multiplication via manual dividing of a starter clone.
Mrs Menhenett estimated they now have about 100
The stigmas and styles from the purple flowers are picked by hand and dried.
The Menhenetts sell the fragrant spice on the Victorian Farmers’ Markets Association online marketplace ‘Farmhouse Direct’, which she said was the most economical way of selling it given the small amount they produced.
The bulbs are then lifted from the ground, before they are planted again in early March (depending on the weather).
Mrs Menhenett thinks moisture is too blame for the lucklustre harvest.
‘‘Saffron doesn’t like getting wet because it can cause rot.’’
She said the saffron was a pet project and both she and her husband worked off-farm and had a 400
Her dream of having a paddock full of the purple flowers and sweet aroma is still a way off, but she is determined to treat the bulbs with fungicide next season, rotate the planting bed and space the plantings more.
Volunteers take to the road to deliver Meals on Wheels to elderly and disabled in Shepparton.
The 2016 Shepparton BMW Senior Victorian Open, hosted jointly by Black Bull Golf Course and the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort in February, has been named the Victorian Legends Pro Am of the Year for 2016.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
BUNNALOO author Fleur Ferris has won two awards for her first novel Risk
NANNEELLA’S night of music and family fun went off with a bang last weekend.
FURTHER demolition of Kyabram P-12 College’s A-wing building began on Monday.
Avenel win over Nagambie to take top spot
Berrigan Shire councillor Daryll Morris says he has been sickened by some of the vitriol and personal attacks to surface since the council’s proposal to redevelop Finley’s Memorial Hall and School of Arts site was revealed in October last year.
PETER Maine has been re-elected as president of Heathcote Tourism and Development, with the region facing an exciting 12 months ahead.
It is renowned for using its manpower to help rebuild fences, clean up after fires and floods and offer relief during drought, but now BlazeAid has turned its attention to the dairy crisis
At 77 years of age, popular local golfer Paul ‘Tango’ has claimed his second hole-in-one.
Tuesday, August 16
The News magazines are online - read high quality magazines in your time. Check in regularly for the latest editions.
Riverine Herald's well regarded locally produced magazines. They're now online, so you can read them whenever and wherever you like.
Search for published and unpublished photos from McPherson Media Group newspapers and magazines. All our photos are available to purchase.
Place an advertisement in any one of McPherson Media Group's local newspapers.