The world’s largest urban pop-up saffron farm has been granted an extension to stay on its site in Croydon, enabling a second harvest of the expensive spice.
Croydon Saffron Central, the £4.3K Spacehive crowdfunded project launched on the site of the former Taberner house in September 2015, saw the blooming of the first of 17,000 crocus corms over the weekend, with the remainder expected to flower over coming weeks.
The project creator, Ally McKinlay, said: “It’s quite nerve-racking to see how the corms will perform this year, and I’m not sure they’re all big enough to bloom. All being well, it will make for a great spectacle before the site turns its focus to being redeveloped for residential apartments.”
The farm promises to be a colourful place in November as thousands of flowers that are said to have given the town its name burst into full bloom.
Councillor Timothy Godfrey, cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport said: “The Croydon Saffron Central project really caught the public imagination last year and we’re glad to see it getting off to a blooming good start for its second harvest.
“Ally is to be commended for the dedication and hard work that he’s put into the project, all for the good of Croydon’s many and varied communities.
“In addition to contributing thousands of crocus corms to community groups and individuals across the borough, he’s brought an important aspect of our borough’s history to life for many who were previously completely unaware that, in centuries past, Croydon was literally saffron central – on a global scale.”
The origin of the town’s name is thought to be the Anglo-Saxon term ‘croh denu’, meaning crocus valley, as the area has historic links with cultivation of the plant and its valuable harvest, saffron.
Ally is currently recruiting volunteers to help with the harvest when the flowers are ready. Anybody interested should email: firstname.lastname@example.org