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TV show Escape to the Country to feature Norfolk Saffron, of Burnham Norton

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Norfolk Saffron based at Burnham Norton will be featured in a forthcoming episode of well-known TV show Escape to the Country.

In September the film crew met up with Dr Sally Francis who founded her saffron business just over ten years ago, and the episode is due to be broadcast in six months' to a year's time.

Said Sally: "We hosted Margharita Taylor and the BBC crew. Having organised all kinds of socially-distanced filming opportunities and enjoying a run of sunny autumn weather, our plans were drastically altered by all-day torrential rain and strong winds. I imagined the filming would be cancelled, but to Margharita’s and the crew’s very great credit, we went ahead, mostly filming in my new shed."

The book Crocologia which was co-written by Sally Francis of Norfolk Saffron (43344937)
The book Crocologia which was co-written by Sally Francis of Norfolk Saffron (43344937)

Sally, is also celebrating the publication of a book, Crocologia, which she wrote in collaboration with author Maria Ramandi, a project which took five years to accomplish. Crocologia is a seventeenth century book dedicated to saffron but it was written in Latin.

It was originally published in 1671 and was written by a German physician and author Johann Ferdinand Hertodt von Todtenfeld.

Sally said: "Saffron is a real passion for me, so it’s wonderful to see Crocologia, translating as the study of saffron, finally in print because it’s the result of five years’ research with my co-author, Maria Ramandi.

Sally Francis of Norfolk Saffron, with some of her products.
Sally Francis of Norfolk Saffron, with some of her products.

"It was very exciting when my own copy arrived in the post. The publishers have produced a beautiful book. It’s great that this important information on saffron, which has not been accessible for 350 years, can now be read and perhaps eventually used to develop new medicines based on saffron."

Another positive this year for Sally has been a particularly successful harvest, which takes place in the autumn months. She said: "Somehow, this year’s flowers seemed bigger than normal, and contained the most beautiful thick saffron threads.

"The new saffron is now maturing and we’ll begin sending out orders of it, and our saffron products, at the end of the month.

"There is so much hand-labour required with growing saffron, that there is a limit on how much we can grow. This year, the harvest was affected by the wet weather, which the plants don’t like, but having said that, the flowers were larger and bolder than usual.

"Every year, I observe the crop closely and learn new information. I can then test out new ideas to make the saffron better and better each season. I can’t control the weather, but with all the experience I now have, there are things I do to minimise bad weather’s affects on the crop."

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