November 8th, 2013
08:45 AM ET
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It's a meticulous harvest which forbids the use of a spade, let alone tractors.

Crouched deep within a field full of purple crocuses, groups of villagers come together every year for a back-breaking fortnight, harvesting saffron.

With great precision, and grubby fingernails, flowers containing the rare, precious spice are snapped away from the stems and dropped inside white buckets.

Within the purple petals lie two or three strands of saffron. These red threads are helping the villagers survive Greece's economic calamity.

When CNN joined them on the final day of a two week harvest the sun was out, with the November heat bearing down on the pickers' backs in the fields around Krokos, a small town in the north of the country.

Among them were young men and women who'd previously left the village in search of jobs in Athens which did not materialize.

One of them was Zisis Kirow, a young man in his 20s with two degrees.

"I was hoping to live in Athens but now with the whole economic crisis it's really hard to find a job that covers your needs," he said.

Read - Spice of life: How saffron could save Greek farmers

Afghan farmers swapping opium poppies for spice

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Filed under: Big Business • Business and Farming News • Farms • Greece • Spices

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