Birjand and the history of Saffron PT1: Where Does Our Golden Spice Grow?
Where does our Saffron grow and how it found its way across the globe?
It should hardly come as a surprise that one of the worlds premium spices, Saffron calls an Eastern pocket of Iran home, fertile soil rich with history and passion provides the perfect environment for this precious spice.
Birjand is the capital of South Khorasan province and is where our producer partners cultivate Saffron in small batches, traditionally grown and harvested from the mountainous area.
A semi-desert climate bordering one of Iran’s biggest deserts (the Dasht-e Lut)
delivers warm summers and cold winters - with the climate contrast fostering perfect conditions 365 days of the year for Saffron to thrive.
Birjand is also home to the largest subterranean lake in the country. All of which makes for the ideal terrain and temperature for Saffron.
Birjand sits at 1470m above sea level and occupies a key strategic position, wedged near the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Birjand has played a role in geopolitics over the years including in World War I and II in supporting supply chains for the allies and links in defence.
Many theories abound about the origins of Saffron, but Iran (Also known as Persia) is likely to have been one of the original, if not the original location of the first plant cultivation over 3,500 years ago. There is even local evidence that suggests agricultural activity in Birjand for a minimum of 5000 years - so Saffron cultivation could be even older than 3500 years!
Since then, Saffron has found a home in many cuisines, crossing continents and cultures and becoming a staple spice in many recipes and regions.
Be sure to keep an eye out for our next newsletter as we continue to explore the cultural richness of Birjand and the history of Saffron in this region and beyond in our next Newsletter