Welcome to Heray Spice

I am Mohammad N. Salehi, the proud owner of Heray Spice. My roots are deeply embedded in the soil of Herat, Afghanistan, where I spent the first 21 years of my life. Following high school, I took on a meaningful role as a Local Military Linguist for the US Army & US Marines at Camp Stone (or Camp Zafar for my fellow veterans who know the name) in Herat, Afghanistan. Serving as a local linguist and cultural advisor for the US Armed Forces in Afghanistan for four years was a defining chapter of my life.

Mohammad Salehi at NEL for Saffron and Great work at Heray Spice

In 2014, I embarked on a new journey, immigrating to Chicago, Illinois. While adjusting to life in a new land, I dedicated seven years to pursuing higher education, becoming the first in my family's generations to complete a college degree. I hold both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer and cyber forensics from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

My upbringing in a farming family sensitized me to the struggles farmers face in Afghanistan merely to make ends meet. This realization fueled my passion to establish Heray Spice, a company (and cooperative in Afghanistan) committed to ensuring farmers receive fair compensation for their saffron and crops, enabling them to educate their children and build a brighter future.

Saffron Harvest Season in Herat Afghanistan

Heray Spice operates as a Public Benefit Corporation, driven by the belief that everyone involved in farming should earn a sustainable and fair income. Our journey began in April 2017, and we officially launched our product in 2018. Starting with a modest 3 LB of saffron from my own family, we've grown to include 45 farmers and 36 independent farms in our cooperative. Last year alone, we imported and sold over 150 LB of saffron.

Famers in the field of Herat

What sets us apart:

  1. Transparency: We know each farmer in our cooperative by name, maintaining regular communication to foster a sense of community.
  2. Timely Payments For Farmers: No credit delays, no late payments, and no deceptive practices. We believe in fair and prompt compensation.
  3. Fair Trade Principles: We don't bargain with farmers; we pay them above local market rates, adhering to fair trade principles.
  4. Quality Assurance: We uphold the highest standards of purity and quality. Each saffron batch comes with a Certificate of Origin, ISO 3532.2 Standard Lab Result with Category #1 results, and a third-party Certificate of Analysis.
  5. Social Responsibility: We contribute 5% of our net income to educational charities in Afghanistan. Additionally, we are eager to support non-profit organizations in the USA, offering financial assistance, products, services, or a combination based on the specific needs. Feel free to reach out at Mohammad@herayspice.com, sharing your cause, and we'll do our best to make a meaningful impact.

At Heray Spice, we believe in providing quality products and a quality way of life. By quality of life, we are talking about the lives of our farmers, our customers, and taking care of the mother nature.

For a better Afghanistan

Our Mission & Goals

  • Helping Afghanistan farmers to cultivate saffron instead of poppy, and making a better living for themselves
  • Making authentic Afghani saffron accessible to chefs and food lovers globally
  • Employing Afghanistan women, and contributing to education projects by giving 5% of our net-income back to community

cultivation and harvesting of saffron during the month of November at Heray Afghanistan Saffron

Our Name & location

We are a Chicago-based company, importing the best quality spices grown in Herat, Afghanistan, where our founder, Mohammad Salehi, was born. His hometown meant a great deal to him, which is why he named our company after it. ‘Heray’ or ‘Heraywa’ is the ancient name for Herat, formerly known as the “Crown of Khorasan”. He spent the majority of his life in Herat, where he grew up amongst farmers, so he was familiar with their way of life. Not only did this inspire him to create Heray Spice, but it was also what sparked him to uplift his community. We cultivate and import the following spices:  Afghanistan Authentic Saffron, Afghanistan Wild Mountain Cumin, Herati Coriander Seeds, Fennel Seeds, Fennel Ground, Tamil Nadu Turmeric, Cloud Forest Cinnamon of Sri Lanka, Infused Saffron Oil, Afghanistan Green Tea, and more spices. 

Heray Saffron, Black Pepper, Herati Coriander Seeds

Our Cooperative in Herat, Afghanistan

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 one of the private company (cooperative) that employs more than 50 people (mostly women) during the harvest season of saffron.
Afghanistan best saffron

 Heray Spice Farmers Cooperative

Our Team 

Mohammad Salehi is the Founder & CEO.Mohammad in Blue Mask of Herat Afghanistan


Anita Yousofi is our Cheif Blending Officer & Co-Owner 

Shahram Mohammadi is the VP of supply chain

Shahram in park

Nemat Salehi is our farmers cooperative coordinator 

Heray Saffron Farmers Cooperative Coordinator


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
Mohammad in his farm in Herat Saffron farm

farmers after work


Saeed Mama and his farm

What Are The Farmers Co-Op Updates?

  • 3 farmers in our co-op
  • 6 seasonal women employed
  • Sales $27,652 
  • Farmers & Afghanistan Employees Benefited  ($7,350)


  • 9 farmers in our co-op
  • 12 seasonal women employed
  • Sales $46,340
  • Farmers & Afghanistan Employees Benefited  ($11,578)



    • 20 farmers in our co-op
    • 25 seasonal women employed
    • Sales $45,571
    • Farmers & Afghanistan Employees Benefited  ($12,700)


    • 30 farmers in our co-op
    • 25 seasonal women employed
    • Sales $ 83,450
    • Farmers & Afghanistan Employees Benefited  ($23,780)


    • 35 farmers in our co-op
    • 28 seasonal women employed
    • Sales $98,670
    • Farmers & Afghanistan Employees Benefited  ($35,567)