Taliouine, a mountain village, is the heart of the saffron Presidium, situated in a land covered with argan trees (from the village of Assaki down to the sea) on the Western side and rose cultivations on the Eastern side, towards Ouazarzate.
The historic area of saffron, the oldest in Morocco, is here on the Souktana plateau, 1300-1500 metres high. Eleven producers – members of the Coopérative Agicole de Taliouine supported by the Moroccan NGO Migrations et Développement -farm small plots of land (max surface 1 hectare) and together with their families gather the flowers at dawn, when they are still closed between the months of October and November. They place them in a cool room and separate the precious stigmas. Each stage of production is done by hand and natural fertilizers are used. There are no particular varieties of saffron, but apparently the territory of the Souktana plateau, the climate and the producers’ savoir-faire are the main reasons for this valuable product, whose colour is less vivid, but whose aroma and taste are much more intense than the others. In addition to saffron, medicinal herbs and vegetables are cultivated, while olive trees, almond trees and wild herbs grow at the edges of the fields. The name of the cooperative (Taliouine) derives from the homonymous village situated on the plateau and the local souk is the main market where the saffron produced in this area is sold. Traditionally, it was Jewish merchants from the sizeable Jewish communities in Morocco who sold the saffron, with a particular preference for pistils treated with olive oil.This method has been abandoned following Jewish emigration: now it is Arab and Berber merchants who purchase large quantities of saffron from the producers at small weekly markets, then selling them at the same markets, in large Moroccan towns and the whole of the Maghreb, as far as Europe. Saffron is bought and sold locally at very low prices, which rise in town markets and in Europe.
Many of our tours pass the saffron growing regions, and we always stop at a local farm to buy fabulous local Saffron to take away!
Originally from the slow food foudation website