This unique 8 days trip is an amazing opportunity for you to visit the main hub of saffron and barberry production in the world. It is located in the Khorasan province, but especially the southern area of Khorasan.
Barberry (zereshk in farsi) and saffron (zaferan in farsi) are often produced on the same type of land and the harvest is normally at the same time of the year, usually from mid-October for around 4 to 5 weeks.
The weather and temperature vary from one year to another, for a few days or one or two weeks. The highest quality and quantity of these products are from Qayenat and Birjand, which you will visit in this trip.
What is saffron? Saffron is a fragrant, colourful and the most expensive spice in the world. The origin of the English word "saffron" might stem from the 12th-century old French term safran, which comes from the Latin word safranum, or possibly from the Arabic za'farān, which comes from the Persian word zarparan meaning "flower with golden petals".
The saffron flower is an autumn blooming crocus with a purple colour and red stigmas. In the early morning, when the weather is cooler the flower is picked, as if this process were to be done later in the day when the temperature is higher, then removing stigmas from flowers becomes a lot more difficult. The stigmas have to be removed from the flower in the same day or the day after at most. After the stigmas are dry, they are ready to be packed for market.
Iran is the biggest producer of saffron in the world, it provides between 90-93 % of global production, equivalent to more than 390 tonnes per year.
Iranian saffron is of high quality and comes at a good price, making it the best for the global market and is the reason much of its produce is exported. Saffron is called Red Gold in Iran, as it is the most expensive spice in the world and for Iranians, it is like their national identity similar to their carpets and rugs.
Saffron is not just planted in Khorasan, it is also planted in the Fars and Kerman regions and is also of good quality.
What is Barberry? Barberry is red and small like little cranberry with a sour and tangy taste but it has less sharpness than cranberry. It is a large genus of deciduous and evergreen shrubs from 1-5 m tall and grows in subtropical regions of the world (apart from Australia). The tree also has spines on its shoots and along the margins of its leaves.
Iran is the biggest producer of barberry in the world and also the biggest consumer. Barberry (zereshk in farsi) are common in Persian cuisine such as in rice, cookies, sweets, fruit paste, juice and also is also served with meat and chicken.
Zereshk is normally dried to be sold in the global market, but Iranians also like the fruit fresh, especially for the juice.
This trip is not just a chance to visit the main hub of saffron and barberry production in the world, but also gives you the chance to visit Damghan, which has some of the best quality pistachio nuts in the world. In Damghan, you will get to visit its pistachio gardens and on the way, you will also visit the Sabzevar and Nishabur areas and their Cotton gardens.
In this trip you can become familiar with the history and culture of Iran when visiting its historical sites and monuments.
Some of these sites are Golestan Palace (UNESCO World Heritage Site), the Bazar in Tehran, Semnan Bathhouse (Hamam) and the biggest shrine of Shia Muslims in the world, the "Imam Reza Shrine". It is located in the second most populated city of Iran, Mashhad. In this city you will find the best quality of turquoise stone (Firoozeh) in the world, in an area called Nishabur.
Other notable sites include the tomb of the great Persian poets, Ferdowsi and Omar Khayam (Khayam was also mathematician and astronomer). The longest and oldest Qanat in the world in Gonabad (UNESCO World Heritage Site), and also the Persian Garden (UNESCO World Heritage Site) located in Birjand.
Sounds great, doesn't it? If the itinerary however is not the exact trip you require, we can tailor it to suit your needs, with our team of specialists on standby and ready to help. For more info please contact us.