The saffron crocus (Crocus satavia) has been cultivated in Europe for over 2000 years. Its dried stamens have remained one of the world’s most expensive substances per gram. Saffron has fabric-dying and medicinal properties, but is best known today for its use in gastronomic cuisine. Until the 18th century, France grew many tonnes of saffron every year, but cultivation rapidly declined and the industry all but disappeared. However, the South of France is today seeing a saffron renaissance. Organic market gardener Agnès Papone planted 6,000 new saffron bulbs on her small farm in the French Alps. Every autumn, she harvests the flowers. Each day’s new blooms must be hand-picked after the morning dew dries, but before the sun’s UV rays lowers the quality of the saffron, and stamens must be delicately removed and dried immediately.