NORFOLK SAFFRON, England’s leading commercial saffron producer, is based in Norfolk near Burnham Market. It's run by Sally Francis, an Oxford-educated botanist with a doctorate in plant pathology. Sally's helped by her family during busy periods in the year, especially by her mother Jill - probably the most experienced saffron picker in England!
THE HQ is our smallholding. It's been in the family since 1935. We started growing saffron when Jill bought 20 saffron corms for Sally's birthday present in 1997, though back then there was no intention to go into commercial production!
OUR STOCK of plants multiplied up over the years. By 2009 there was too much saffron to use ourselves so we took some to a market – and were astounded by the enthusiastic response. Sally used her expertise in 'alternative crops' and her beloved late father, Edward's, skills in farming to take things forward, and, with the help of RDPE funding, Norfolk Saffron was born.
ALTHOUGH NORFOLK and saffron are two words that aren’t normally associated with each other, we discovered that saffron was once very important locally - and it had a reputation for excellent quality too. Huge amounts were exported from north Norfolk ports in a lucrative trade to the Low Countries. We now have almost 20-years' worth of hard-won experience in saffron production and are very proud to be the first to offer Norfolk-grown saffron for sale again.