Pure saffron hand-harvested by female farmers in Afghanistan | Ethical – Moonflowers Co

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Harvested with love by women in Herat, Afghanistan

We honor all the women who, through resilience and love, plant, nourish and harvest the ancient and most precious spice.

Harvested in Herat, Afghanistan

Our saffron is sourced from a small family owned and run farm in Herat, Afghanistan. Their practice from planting the corms to harvesting is done with a lot of care, to ensure premium quality saffron stigmas.


















  • The land

    Before the saffron corms can be planted, the farmers prepare the land by deep ploughing it, leveling it, removing weeds and other materials, and making small plots.  Soil preparation is practiced in autumn or winter. In Afghanistan, the farmers use the ridge planting method to plant the saffron corms. This method provides better protection against high temperature as well as pest and diseases. The corm is prevented from being soaked in water.  

  • The care

    The saffron corms are planted generally from April through June, which leads to the best production. Saffron does not require a lot of nutrients compared to other agricultural plants. Saffron doesn’t need much irrigation. The growth of saffron starts after the first irrigation, usually around September. Water is then necessary to support the flowering of the saffron corm. 

  • The harvest

    The flowering stage of the saffron starts in October and continues for three weeks. Each flower lives for only 48 hours, which is why it is key to ensure harvest within this short period of time. The saffron flowers should be picked early morning, as soon as they open. It is important for the saffron pickers to pick the flowers in a fast pace, as the wilting of the flowers makes the post-harvest process difficult. The optimal harvest time is in the very early morning, before there is full sun.  

  • The processing

    When the saffron flowers have been collected from the fields, they will be transported to a farm house where it’s kept in a clean and shaded facility for further processing. The ideal temperature for storage of the saffron flowers is near 0 Celcius. The quality of the saffron stigma’s relies on the immediate processing.  The saffron pickers separate the stigmas from the flowers in a facility. It takes about 450,000 stigmas to make up a kilogram of saffron spice. 

  • The drying

    The stigma must be dried to ensure premium quality.  Dehydrating of the saffron stigmas must be done very precisely, if it is too moist the stigmas might get infected with fungus and when it’s too dry the stigmas might break easily into powder. In Afghanistan, the climate allows for air drying which takes up to a week.  Electric dryers have been introduced more recently and it takes takes minutes rather than days and makes it easier to control the moisture level (12 % to 14 %) of the saffron. 


















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