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Pictures | Thu Nov 8, 2018 | 2:05pm EST

Greece's saffron trade blooms in wilted economy

A saffron flower is seen on a field in the town of Krokos, Greece. Saffron - the spice so expensive it's called "red gold" - has brought jobs and money to a region better known for coal mines and unemployment.


REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A saffron flower is seen on a field in the town of Krokos, Greece. Saffron - the spice so expensive it's called "red gold" - has brought jobs and money to a region better known for coal mines and unemployment. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A saffron flower is seen on a field in the town of Krokos, Greece. Saffron - the spice so expensive it's called "red gold" - has brought jobs and money to a region better known for coal mines and unemployment. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Evangelia Patsioura pauses as she harvests saffron flowers at her family's field in the town of Krokos. Greeks have been cultivating saffron for three centuries in the countryside surrounding Krokos, which takes its name from Crocus, the saffron flower. Alexander the Great is said to have used it to heal battle wounds.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Evangelia Patsioura pauses as she harvests saffron flowers at her family's field in the town of Krokos. Greeks have been cultivating saffron for three centuries in the countryside surrounding Krokos, which takes its name from Crocus, the saffron...more

Evangelia Patsioura pauses as she harvests saffron flowers at her family's field in the town of Krokos. Greeks have been cultivating saffron for three centuries in the countryside surrounding Krokos, which takes its name from Crocus, the saffron flower. Alexander the Great is said to have used it to heal battle wounds. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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2 / 17
A bee is seen on saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos. Saffron grows only in this region of Greece. Marketed as Krokos Kozanis, one gram costs about four euros in Greek shops.


REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A bee is seen on saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos. Saffron grows only in this region of Greece. Marketed as Krokos Kozanis, one gram costs about four euros in Greek shops. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A bee is seen on saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos. Saffron grows only in this region of Greece. Marketed as Krokos Kozanis, one gram costs about four euros in Greek shops. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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3 / 17
Locals harvest saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos. Flowers are handpicked, and at the cooperative women in blue overall weigh and package it. 

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Locals harvest saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos. Flowers are handpicked, and at the cooperative women in blue overall weigh and package it. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Locals harvest saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos. Flowers are handpicked, and at the cooperative women in blue overall weigh and package it. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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(R to L) Nikolas Patsiouras, Maria and Evangelia Patsioura fill a basket with saffron flowers at their family's field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

(R to L) Nikolas Patsiouras, Maria and Evangelia Patsioura fill a basket with saffron flowers at their family's field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

(R to L) Nikolas Patsiouras, Maria and Evangelia Patsioura fill a basket with saffron flowers at their family's field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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5 / 17
A worker harvests saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A worker harvests saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A worker harvests saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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The sun rises over a field of saffron flowers in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

The sun rises over a field of saffron flowers in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

The sun rises over a field of saffron flowers in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Members of the Patsiouras family harvest saffron flowers at their field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Members of the Patsiouras family harvest saffron flowers at their field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Members of the Patsiouras family harvest saffron flowers at their field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Zisis Kyrou harvests saffron flowers in his field in the town of Krokos. "It was hard to find work in your field during the crisis, particularly in civil engineering, because there was no construction," said Kyrou, 34, as he harvested with pollen-stained hands. In 2012, he returned to Greece from London with two university degrees. He eventually opened an engineering office in his village of Krokos, but most of his income comes from his four acres of land, which he hopes to increase.

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Zisis Kyrou harvests saffron flowers in his field in the town of Krokos. "It was hard to find work in your field during the crisis, particularly in civil engineering, because there was no construction," said Kyrou, 34, as he harvested with...more

Zisis Kyrou harvests saffron flowers in his field in the town of Krokos. "It was hard to find work in your field during the crisis, particularly in civil engineering, because there was no construction," said Kyrou, 34, as he harvested with pollen-stained hands. In 2012, he returned to Greece from London with two university degrees. He eventually opened an engineering office in his village of Krokos, but most of his income comes from his four acres of land, which he hopes to increase. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Members of the Patsiouras family check saffron flowers for stigmas at their house in the town of Krokos. It takes 150,000 flowers to make a kilo of the spice, which sells for about 1,500 euros. Flowers are handpicked, and at the cooperative women in blue overall weigh and package it. They are forbidden to wear make-up and perfume, to protect its flavor.
 
REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Members of the Patsiouras family check saffron flowers for stigmas at their house in the town of Krokos. It takes 150,000 flowers to make a kilo of the spice, which sells for about 1,500 euros. Flowers are handpicked, and at the cooperative women in...more

Members of the Patsiouras family check saffron flowers for stigmas at their house in the town of Krokos. It takes 150,000 flowers to make a kilo of the spice, which sells for about 1,500 euros. Flowers are handpicked, and at the cooperative women in blue overall weigh and package it. They are forbidden to wear make-up and perfume, to protect its flavor. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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10 / 17
A worker holds dried saffron stigmas at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A worker holds dried saffron stigmas at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A worker holds dried saffron stigmas at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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11 / 17
A worker weighs one gram of dried saffron stigmas at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. 

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A worker weighs one gram of dried saffron stigmas at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A worker weighs one gram of dried saffron stigmas at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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12 / 17
President of the Cooperative of Saffron Nikos Patsiouras prepares to dry saffron stigmas in the town of Krokos. 

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

President of the Cooperative of Saffron Nikos Patsiouras prepares to dry saffron stigmas in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

President of the Cooperative of Saffron Nikos Patsiouras prepares to dry saffron stigmas in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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A worker weighs one gram of dried saffron stigmas at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. 

REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A worker weighs one gram of dried saffron stigmas at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A worker weighs one gram of dried saffron stigmas at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Packets of dried saffron are seen at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos.


 REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Packets of dried saffron are seen at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Packets of dried saffron are seen at the Cooperative of Saffron premises in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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Locals harvest saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos, Greece, October 26, 2018. Picture taken October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Locals harvest saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos, Greece, October 26, 2018. Picture taken October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

Locals harvest saffron flowers in a field in the town of Krokos, Greece, October 26, 2018. Picture taken October 26, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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A woman pauses as she harvests saffron flowers at her family's field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A woman pauses as she harvests saffron flowers at her family's field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

A woman pauses as she harvests saffron flowers at her family's field in the town of Krokos. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis
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