Welcome to the land of soft gold, the South Khorasan province in the east part of Iran. It's in these beautiful and preserved natural landscapes that, each fall, during only six weeks, the fields are covered with a blanket of small and delicate purple flowers: the saffron crocus. Between its petals can be found the world's most expensive spice, saffron. With this experience, you're invited to participate in the unique event of harvesting, along with local farmers.
Known as the "Red gold" All over the world, saffron is recognized for its attributes and rarity, associated with the east lands of Iran. What few people truly know is the intricacy of its harvest. This experience offers an initiation to this precise work while discovering the authentic rural life of Iran.
Attending saffron harvesting and learning techniques directly from local farmers
Picking up the flowers in the fields and extracting the saffron from the flowers
Discovering the history and specificities of the most precious spice in the world
Living like east resident locals, by sharing a farmer family's life
Eating delicious local and homemade east Persian dishes
Visiting the small villages of south Khorasan with earthen architecture
Sipping live Maghami folk music played by local musicians
Harvesting saffron is discovering farm tourism in Iran beside learning the secrets behind this priceless spice, It's above all a unique occasion to get to know the rural life in a small village of the Khorasan Province has escaped the modernization.
Saffron cultivation and trade has indeed four millennia of history to share with the visitor. The region of Qaen has a long history which can be discovered by visiting its Qanats, an antic irrigation system, and its ancient sites. All this, in an exceptional scenery interspersing vast deserts and chains of high mountains.
Being hosted by a family of local farmers, you share the delicious and homemade foods and unique costumes and cultures of Khorasan only a few get chance to taste original. Make sure you discover local folk music during live performances and plunge in the history of once the great Harat of Persian land had been fertile soil to legends germinated over its bed.
The harvest starts early in the morning as the sun timidly rises over the horizon. In this heavenly landscape, start picking as many flowers as you can. You don't know how to do it? Don't worry; you have the best and kindest experts by your side to show you the ancestral techniques! Almost 180 flowers are needed to produce one single gram of saffron! And separating the red stigmas from the flower crocuses must be done by hands. Labour that the Iranian families of South Khorasan Province have learned and repeated over generations.
Back in the village with the fruits of your labour; enjoy a warm tea with saffron flavour in your host's house, with all the members of the family. After some rest, the essential part of the experience is separating the precious red stigmas from the flower. Open each fragile plant to touch three brittle red stigmas in the heart: here is the precious saffron spice!
It's a way to realize how much work is behind this tasteful spice which gives Persian food its true identity. By participating in this experience, you also firmly support fair working conditions in the fields and empowerment of the local communities. And what greater pleasure than to buy directly from the producer, this wonderful spice that now you know how much work is behind the taste of it?
This experience is also a unique discovery of the great history of this province and its traditions. Visiting the small villages of Tajan and Bazar-o Koroh, as well as ancient sites, gives you more insights into this specific culture. And listening to a musical live performance will, for sure, leaves an unforgettable impression in your mind, as this music is considered as the true cultural identity of Khorasan people.