Press & Media

StarChefs: RED GOLD
Jan 22, 2023
BY CARRIE SCHEDLER When Mohammad Salehi left Afghanistan, he found a new passion as a saffron importer. Salehi’s start-up, Heray Spice, is now bringing top-quality saffron to the United States.  The question had been nagging Mohammad Salehi: Why was the saffron at his neighborhood grocery store so cheap? It wasn’t as if the shop’s $4 per gram price tag was wallet-friendly. But Salehi, the son of farmers from the saffron-rich Afghanistan, knew that the cost to produce a gram of the spice was more like $7—100 grams requires 25,000 crocus flowers with the stamens and styles removed by hand to create threads. Something wasn’t adding up, so he opened his new container and ran some unscientific tests. It smelled like paint fumes instead of the usual woody herbaceousness. The color was bright red instead of a mellow orange-yellow. He placed a few threads in water alongside another glass with some higher-quality saffron, and the cheap stuff tinted the water an orange-red, while the more expensive saffron imparted a golden hue. Then he tasted the grocery store saffron: chemical and limp instead of delicately savory with notes of honey and lemon.
Saffron is the most expensive spice that is coming from herat Afghanistan. Saffron adds color, flavor, and smell to your foods.
Nov 19, 2022
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.
Nov 14, 2022
To understand saffron is to understand the immense work that goes into this product. Saffron begins with the Crocus sativus flower, a small purple flower that blooms in the autumn as opposed to other flowering herbs and spices that bloom in the spring. READ MORE ON KITCHEN AID
Saffron National Post
Nov 14, 2022
Mohammad Salehi was a farmer once, and a military linguist before he became the CEO of Heray Spice, an organic saffron company in Chicago encouraging Afghan farmers to raise saffron instead of opium poppies. Afghanistan is the third-largest producer of saffron and has some of the best quality in the world. MORE ON NATIONAL POST
Saffron on Eater
Nov 14, 2022
Heray Spice, The Saffron Specialistby Sophia F. Gottfried Jan 28, 2021, 11:47am EST Illustration by Joules GarciaSaffron is one of the world’s most famous, and famously expensive, spices. But Mohammad Salehi has found, beyond that, Americans don’t know all that much about what he calls the “queen of spices.” When he first tried selling the delicate crimson threads from his family’s farm in Afghanistan to grocery stores, they didn’t bite.MORE ON EATER
Bon Appétit: Where To Buy Saffron You Can Feel Good About
Nov 14, 2022
Heray Spice imports saffron from a cooperative of 25 farming families from two villages in Herat Province. Salehi knows them all personally, and his company pays on average $400-$500 more per kilo than local traders. He also invests a portion of Heray’s profits in local education. “When I was a boy, every year my family would put half of the income from their saffron crop towards my education,” says Salehi. “I want to help the children of farmers who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford to go to school.” Read More on Bon Appétit