We tried growing saffron in our garden two years ago before the drought really set in in California. I'd say, Auban, you've grown a pretty average crop for a single gardener. Saffron is over $40 an ounce and can only be bought in Little India in that enormous quantity (an ounce!) in Los Angeles. As you discovered, each strand has to be nurtured and hand-harvested. In the US, most of our saffron comes from Spain, as does our "real" olive oil. Currently, there is a horrendous blight on olive trees in Spain and Italy, sending the price of olive oil through the roof.
In France, the cheapest saffron (from Iran) comes from 'Arab@ market-stalls. As for cooking fat, use butter or virgin rape-seed (canola) oil.
Butter, yes, canola oil, no.
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