She’s Just Mad About Saffron: Afghan Retailer Brings Rare Spice to Brattleboro | Business

GUILFORD – Hoping to bring some of her culture from Afghanistan to Vermont, Nada Amiri will start a new business selling saffron. The local Afghan refugee is no stranger to the business world, having already run an online clothing store while living in Afghanistan.

Speaking through a translator, Amiri warmed up a pot of saffron tea as she talked about how she sources saffron and her plans to introduce it to the local community.

“When we first moved here, it was very difficult to find saffron,” Amiri said.

She said it was difficult to find in local stores, and even when she was able to find it, the saffron was neither the price nor the quality she was looking for.

Saffron has a 2,000-year history in Afghanistan, according to the country’s National Saffron Development Program. It has been used in cooking for centuries, for color and delicate aroma. Amiri said many people use saffron when making rice or chicken. It is also used in the production of medicines and perfumes.

Safflower herbal tea is made from dried safflower flower stalks. The tea is full of anti-depressants and also contains safranal, an antioxidant that can increase the antibacterial and antiviral activity in your body.

“Afghans use saffron a lot… it will be a good thing for her herself and she will also introduce Afghan saffron to the community here,” Amira’s translator explained.

But saffron has been harder to come by because it is mainly grown by women in Afghanistan, and since the Taliban regained control of the country in August 2021, women have been increasingly barred from employment, education and other opportunities.

Despite these challenges, Amiri was able to find a permanent supplier in her home country, but then had to go through some hurdles with US Customs and Border Protection. When she first started importing saffron, the product was sent back to Afghanistan three times before she figured out the proper protocol.


Nada Amiri, an Afghan refugee, holds a package saffron that they will sell online and at the new restaurant at Vermont Marketplace at Exit 1.

Amiri is now spreading the word about her saffron to other members of the Afghan refugee community and encourages others to email her at [email protected] if they are interested in purchasing saffron.

He hopes to get his saffron product in some of the local grocery stores, and is helping other Afghan refugees who plan to open a small restaurant at the Vermont Marketplace on Canal Street, where he also plans to sell saffron tea.

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