About Us

Who We Are?

Heray Spice owners are a group of Afghan immigrants and farmers from Afghanistan. All of the founders worked with US Army and Governmental Organization inside Afghanistan from 2008 to 2014. And they have been traveling back and fourth between US and Afghanistan to source the best saffron and other spices directly from local farmers. 

We are also a farmers cooperative based in Herat Afghanistan where we bring farmers together to train them on food safety, standard packaging, and safe processing of saffron. To import the highest quality saffron and pay our farmers better wages, Heray farms are owned by local farmers and has partnership to only supply saffron for Heray Spice.

Farmers in Haji Rahman Saffron farm

Why We Started Heray Spice?

In 2017 we started Heray Spice for three main goals:

  • Helping Afghan family farmers to cultivate saffron instead of poppy

  • Making authentic Afghani saffron accessible to chefs and food lovers globally

  • Building schools for children of Afghanistan by giving 10% of our net-income to back to educational charities

Mohammad at Herat Saffron

What Does Heray Mean?

Heray or Heraywa is the ancient name for the current city of Herat. Heray was a famous and important city of Khorasan province during Sasanian dynasty. It was also named as the “Crown of Khorasan”.

We named our company Heray Spice, because 90% of Afghanistan saffron is cultivated in this province, and Heray is our hometown.

Mohammad in Blue Mask of Herat Afghanistan

Who Are The Founders?

Mohammad Salehi
CEO & Co-Owner

Mohammad grew up in a farming family in western Afghanistan. His parents were farmers for their entire lives. After finishing high school in Afghanistan, he became a cultural advisor for United Nation in 2009.

He immigrated from Afghanistan to Chicago in 2013 where he later started Heray Spice.

Mohammad holds a bachelors of science in Information Technology, and masters of IT Management from Illinois Tech.

Mohammad with saffron

 

Iqbal Zarifi
CFO & Co-Owner

Iqbal grew up in Panjshir province of Afghanistan. His parents were also farmers. He finished high school in Afghanistan, and became a cultural advisor for NATO Operation Enduring Freedom in 2010.

He immigrated from Afghanistan to Chicago in 2014 where he started Heray Spice with Mohammad in 2017.

Iqbal is running Heray Spice, and pursuing a bachelors degree in business management at University of Illinois in Chicago.

Zarifi smiling

 

Shahram Mohammadi
COO & Co-Owner

Shahram was born and raised in Herat Afghanistan. His family and himself are still farmers.

He manages Heray Spice supply chain in Afghanistan. He is also the manager of Aqiq Saffron, our sister company in Herat.

Shahram holds bachelors of science in civil engineering from Herat University.

Shahram in park

 

What Are The Farmers Co-Op Updates?

2018

3 farmers in our co-op

6 seasonal women employed

 

2019

9 farmers in our co-op

12 seasonal women employed

 

2020

20 farmers in our co-op

25 seasonal women employed

Saeed Mama and his farm


2021

35 farmers in our co-op

35 seasonal women employed

Haji Jalal

 

2022

30 farmers in our co-op

28 seasonal women employed

Ali Abbas in His Farm