Mina Sahar Saffron, Heray Spice based in Chicago, and Ziba Foods, which operates out of New York and Dubai, are businesses founded or co-founded by Afghan immigrants and refugees. These startups source agricultural goods—bright red saffron threads, dried fruits and heirloom almonds among other products—from their former homeland. They employ multiple farmers, factory workers and office administrators, including women, in Kabul and Afghanistan’s Herat region.
Mohammed Salehi, founder of Heray Spice, based in Chicago, has been selling saffron in the US since 2017. He also recently introduced Afghan tea and cumin to his buyers. Salehi was an interpreter for the US military in Afghanistan, allowing him to arrive in the US on a special visa in 2014.