From Army Vet to Spice Queen

Better Nutrition|June 2020

From Army Vet to Spice Queen
Kimberly Jung, a former Army engineer stationed in Afghanistan, found a smart and socially responsible way to bring saffron to the U.S.— and help Afghan farmers at the same time
NEIL ZEVNIK

Saffron is one of the oldest botanical products of all time, and currently the most expensive in the world by weight. Now primarily employed as a gourmet spice, it has a varied and illustrious history with multiple uses and roles— 50,000-year-old prehistoric depictions in Iran contain saffron-based pigments; ancient Persians wove saffron threads into their fabrics and offered them to their divinities; Phoenicians used saffron as a treatment for melancholy; and Alexander the Great used saffron infusions in his bath to heal battle wounds.

Fast forward to the present day. A dedicated group of former U.S. Army engineers are determined to use saffron to help heal the battle wounds of an entire country—Afghanistan. The climate there is perfect for the cultivation of saffron, but conflict and strife have made producing and marketing it nearly impossible.

A Warehouse Full of Saffron

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June 2020