Harvest rituals: Saffron
The crocuses are picked late in the morning, after the sun has dried the morning mist. It is laborious, back-breaking work. Later, family and neighbor women gather around kitchen tables and strip the three flame-colored "stigmas" off each flower, dropping the delicate blooms on the floor. They work long into the night until their gnarled fingers are stained black and the last petals are plucked. It takes 80,000 crocuses to make a pound of saffron.