About Us

Who We Are?

Heray Spice is a local business based in Chicago Illinois with a social mission to help farmers with better wages while helping chefs with freshest and highest quality spices from Afghanistan.

Heray Spice owners are a group of Afghan immigrants and farmers from Afghanistan. All of the founders worked with US Army and Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) 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 co-operative 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. Our farmers are being paid based on fair-trade principles. 

We are also proud to help farmers cultivate saffron instead of poppy, and make a better living for themselves. Every year, we partner with new farmers and make sure they get better wage while making the world a safe and better place for everyone. 

In 2018, we launched Heray Education Fund, where we contribute 10% of our net-income on educational charities inside Afghanistan. For every jar of our spices you buy, you are getting the best quality products, while helping our community of farmers and educational charities inside Afghanistan. 

heray farmers in Haji Rahman land

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 in his farm in Herat Saffron farm

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?

Our founders are a group of hardworking individuals with a dream of helping our farmers and communities back home while supply our customers with the highest quality of saffron and other spices. 

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

Meet Our Farmers?

 Heray Spice Coop Farmers

Heray farmers in our cooperative in herat Afghanistan

Juma Gol our farmer for the last few years in heray spice

Agha Mir our farmer in Herat saffron farm

Haji Hafizullah saffron farmer

Haji Jalal

mosa farmer in our coop


Abbas Ali our farmer

What Are The Farmers Co-Op Updates?


3 farmers in our co-op

6 seasonal women employed

farmers after work



9 farmers in our co-op

12 seasonal women employed



20 farmers in our co-op

25 seasonal women employed

Saeed Mama and his farm


35 farmers in our co-op

35 seasonal women employed

Haji Jalal with his saffron also know as saffron king



30 farmers in our co-op

28 seasonal women employed

abbas ali saffron spice farm