Crocus Fields and Saffron Trade Growing in Greece
During the fall, Zisis Kyrou is more likely to be picking crocus flowers in northern Greece than be in his office at work. But he is not doing so for fun. It is profitable.
Kyrou, who is 34, gathers crocuses outside his hometown of Krokos to produce the spice saffron. Spices are used to improve the taste of foods. And saffron is a favorite. People pay so much money for it that it is often called "red gold."
Saffron has brought jobs and money to an area of Greece that is better known for coalmines and unemployment. A year ago, area saffron producers began exporting to the United States. Now they are looking to China.
Most of the saffron producers are young Greeks who could not find jobs during Greece's nine-year economic crisis. They began farming as a result.
"It was hard to find work in your field during the crisis, particularly in civil engineering, because there was no construction," Kyrou said.
In 2012, Kyrou returned to Greece from London with two university degrees. He opened an engineering office in his village of Krokos, but he makes more money from his 1.6 hectares of land.
"I didn't imagine I'd return," he said. "But it was a decision I don't regret."
Krokos gets its name from the flower. And the area surrounding the town has been growing crocus flowers for 300 years. But until 2000, saffron production was limited to 30 kilograms a year for sale within the country, said Nikos Patsiouras, head of Greece's Cooperative of Saffron.
That changed with the 2008 international economic crisis, which became the Great Recession. Greece began increasing saffron production, now making about four tons a year. Seventy percent of that is exported.
The Cooperative also has grown during that time from 494 members to 1,000. And the crocus farms have expanded, from about 240 hectares in 2008 to more than 545 now.
"A lot of young people found work in the fields - scientists," Patsiouras said. "I believe more will join."
Signs of economic hardship can be seen throughout Krokos. Many stores that line the streets are permanently closed. Unemployment in northwestern Greece is 23.5 percent.
But the fields are busy places of industry.
"We have God on our side, who gave us such a unique product," Patsiouras said.
Saffron grows in many countries. Greece markets its as Krokos Kozanis. One gram costs about four euros in Greek stores.
It takes about 150,000 flowers to make a kilogram of the spice, which sells for about 1,500 euros. Flowers are gathered by hand. Women of the Cooperative weigh and package the spice.
Iran is by far the world's biggest saffron producer, but demand for the Greek kind is rising, Patsiouras said. Greece is in talks with China to begin exporting its product there in 2019.
I'm Caty Weaver.
1.A lot of 很多；大量
I think a lot of people still underestimate him.
2.a demand for 对...的需求
Surging imports will add to the demand for hard currency.
3.economic crisis 经济危机
An economic crisis may have tremendous consequences for our global security.
4.looking to 指望；注意
We're not looking to make a fortune.
5.It was hard to find work in your field during the crisis, particularly in civil engineering.
It was hard to find 很难找到
It was hard to find a glimmer of hope in the numbers.
It was hard to find you in sea of people at music festival.
6.They began farming as a result.
as a result 结果；因此
As a result, industry was overmanned and pen-pushers were everywhere.
As a result, the bad thing has been turned into a good one.
整个秋天，齐西斯·基尤（Zisis Kyrou）更多时间可能不在办公室上班，而在希腊北部采摘藏红花 。不过，他摘藏红花可不是为了娱乐，而是为了赚钱 。
34岁的基尤在家乡克隆科斯小镇外采集藏红花，用来制作藏红花香料 。这样的香料可以提高食物的口感 。藏红花香料很受欢迎 。人们不惜花重金购买藏红花，因此藏红花也有“红金子”的美称 。
藏红花为希腊一个以煤矿和失业闻名的地区带来大量就业岗位和可观收入 。一年前，该地区的藏红花生产者开始向美国出口 。如今，他们将目光转向中国 。
大多数藏红花生产者都是希腊人，由于希腊经历了长达9年的经济危机，所以他们无法就业 。因此，他们开始务农 。
2012年，基尤获得2个大学学位后从伦敦返回希腊 。他在老家克隆科斯开办了一家工程公司，但让他赚得盆满钵满的是那1.6公顷的土地 。
他说，我没想到会回到故土 。但我不后悔做的这个决定 。
“克隆科斯”名字的由来也是因为藏红花 。城镇周边的地区种植藏红花已有300年的历史 。希腊藏红花合作社主管尼科斯·帕特斯拉斯表示，在2000年之前，藏红花的年产量被限制在30公斤以内 。
随着2008年国际金融危机的出现（后来演变为大萧条），这一情况发生了改变 。在那之后，希腊开始增加藏红花的产量，如今每年产量约达4吨 。其中70%的藏红花都出口海外 。
在此期间，该合作社的员工也从494人增加到1000人 。藏红花种植的面积也逐渐扩大，从2008年的240公顷增加到现在的545多公顷 。
帕特斯拉说：“很多年轻人在这一领域找到了工作——科学家 。我认为还会有更多年轻人加入 。”
在克隆科斯，经济局势艰难的征兆随处可见 。街道两旁的很多店铺都永久停业了 。希腊西北部的失业率为23.5% 。
藏红花在很多国家均有种植，在希腊，藏红花的英文名是Krokos Kozanis 。在希腊商店里，一克藏红花的售价约为4欧元 。
制作一公斤藏红花香料大概需要15万朵藏红花，售价约为1500欧元 。藏红花靠人工采摘 。藏红花合作社的女性负责称重并打包香料 。
帕特斯拉表示，伊朗是目前全球最大的藏红花生产国，但市场对希腊藏红花品种的需求正在上升 。希腊正在与中国谈判，计划2019年向中国出口藏红花 。