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Rumi Spice: How Afghanistan Vets are Trying to Cultivate Peace through Saffron


Stashed in: Good Eats!, Awesome, Consumer Trends, Military, Spice

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Very cool idea and team: diverse set of veterans who served in Afghanistan, and want to set up saffron as an cash crop alternative to opium.

They sell it here: http://rumispice.com/

It sounds wonderful. 

Growing saffron requires a lot of land, and a lot of labor for hand-harvesting. Each saffron flower has three stigmas, and it takes around 200,000 stigmas to get one pound of saffron. The high value and limited supply have also helped create varying levels of quality, as well as a market for counterfeit saffron.

"You have no idea where it comes from, and they give you all kinds of certifications that I don't trust, and that's the story of most of the saffron in the world," said Philippe De Vienne, a professional spice hunter and CEO of Epices De Cru, a Montreal-based spice company. "Meeting Rumi, it was like 'Wow, somebody opened a window and let some fresh air into the house!' "

Rumi Spice's saffron has a feel-good story, but it's also a consistently high-quality product, says De Vienne. "The color is beautiful, the flavor is exceptional," he says. "You can see the craftsmanship in every stem of saffron ... it's 100 percent the right kind of stigma and it's top quality."

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