Gulzar Ahmad Kuchay has been farming, harvesting, and promoting Kashmiri saffron — identified to be one of the best number of the spice — for over 30 years. Each autumn, his household comes collectively for the annual saffron harvest within the Pampore area of Kashmir, and embark on the fragile and lengthy technique of getting ready the spice, which might promote for as a lot as $3,400 per kilogram.
After planting seeds in rocky, dry soil in August, Kuchay sees his saffron flowers sprout all through October and November. Through the harvest, Kuchay and 5 to 10 of his members of the family choose a whole lot of flowers by hand, and spend the nights separating the petals from the stigma that holds the saffron.
The saffron then will get added to an earthen clay pot, which is crucial to the drying course of because the pot naturally absorbs moisture with out damaging the spice. The saffron is unfold out on a wool sheet to dry within the solar for 2 days. The dried saffron is shaken via a strainer to take away any remaining items of stigma or additional husk, and packaged to be bought. Kuchay and his household repeat this course of a number of instances per week, till all the crop has been picked and processed.
“That is our inheritance — our grandfather, his father, my father,” says Kuchay. “I’m additionally persevering with this commerce so our youngsters, babies, get excited within the season of harvest.”