Saffron crocus, the new purple flower growing in Sequim

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by Gardening With Ciscoe

KING5.com

Posted on August 25, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Updated Monday, Aug 27 at 11:54 AM

There's treasure buried in the deep soil of Sequim - crocus sativus bulbs.  They grow the flower that makes the most expensive spice in the world - saffron.

Len Horst owns an organic gardening supply store and farms in Sequim: one of his crops is saffron. Hendrikus is visiting to see how his fertilizers have impacted Horst's plants.

"The trick to saffron is plant in the fall, use Hendrikus' products, and what we want to do is plant them three or four inches down. And what happens, here in Sequim when the rain comes, is these guys wake up in the fall," says Horst.

Right now, the saffron crop isn't  much to look at -- but in fall, the dry stalks will wick rain down into the soil and light purple flowers will emerge.

Saffron is the red thread, or 'stigma' of the flower.  Each crocus only makes three stigmas. It takes 70,000 flowers -- about a football field -- to make a pound of saffron, and that pound can retail for up to $5,000.

Horst uses Hendrikus Organics 'Bouquet' fertilizer and Humagic in his crocus beds and the bulbs show it - they can sell for a dollar apiece.

Saffron gives dishes like paella a gold color, and adds a distinctive taste. Len's saffron has a stronger flavor than most. He claims it's the high organic content of his soil.

"We're mining. If I take this out I'm actually mining the soil. I have to put something back, and that's where Hendrikus' products come in handy,” said Horst.

So move over lavender, there's a new purple flower growing in Sequim.

To find out more about growing Saffron Crocus, contact Len Horst at Earth CPR Supplies, 65 Hooker Rd, Sequim, WA 98382 (360) 681-8790

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