Saffron Willis, from Mirboo, South Gippsland on a sunny day was a wonderful. setting for the Women on Farms Discussion Group farm visit. Phyll and Ted Tierney are producing saffron, which they sell at farmers markets. Amazing views combined with beds of saffron, their purple flowers alive with bees were impressive.
The productive area of well-tended raised beds was the site for over 600 blooms picked in the morning harvest. Twice daily pickings go for six weeks from mid March to the end of April. After an early picking the stamens are picked out by hand with tweezers, into the dehydrator then packed for sale in bottles.
After the busy picking and weeding season a slight break occurs prior to the digging up of beds that are three years old for separation of the corms in October/November and replanting by mid January. Corms multiply from three to six corms annually. Sorting and replanting is a major undertaking in both time and effort.
Phyll and Ted support the Koonwarra, Cowes, Warragul, Traralgon and Inverloch farmers markets. Saffron is available for sale in small glass bottles. Jars of “Saffron Salt” are also available. Corms are available for sale after November.
Instructions on the infusion and use of saffron, along with complimentary recipes, combined with a fountain of knowledge from Phyll is happily provided. Saffron used in cooking should be infused prior to use for best results. This differs from just adding to the dish as is often the practice in televised cooking shows. Saffron can also be made up as a tea. One cup a day has been reported have many health benefits. As an antioxidant and anti inflammatory agent reports of improvement in degeneration of the macula of the eyes and joint pain are often shared.