US Veterans Selling Spice from Afghanistan, Where They Served
Saffron is one of the costliest spices in the world. It is sometimes considered as valuable as money, and has been used as such in history. Saffron comes from a flower that grows mostly in parts of Europe, Iran and India. Now, a company in the United States is developing new markets for saffron grown in Afghanistan.
At Café Ba-Ba-Reeba in Chicago saffron is very important to Executive Chef Matt Holmes's menu.
"We feature it in our paellas, which are our signature dish here at Café Bar Ba Reeba, as well as use it in a dessert and some other dishes as well. So, it's incredibly important to have high-quality saffron."
Cooks throughout Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea use saffron, but few cooks in the United States know about the spice.
The company Rumi Spice, which sells saffron to Holmes, is working to change that.
Kimberly Jung is a founder of Rumi Spice. She says the company takes its name from Jalaluddin Rumi, a 13th-century poet and thinker born in what is now Afghanistan.
"One of his famous sayings is ‘Where there is ruin, there is hope for treasure.'"
Keith Alaniz is another of the founders of the company, along with Emily Miller. They are all former U.S. military members who served in Afghanistan. Alaniz says they returned with more than just battle experience.
"I was never able to resolve just going to Afghanistan, and spending time; leaving and never thinking about the place again -- especially when you form relationships with people who live there and you understand them and you know their families."
So, Jung and Alaniz began to sell saffron produced by Afghan farmers they met in Herat province. There is not much demand for saffron in Afghanistan, so farmers must export it.
Alaniz says Afghanistan has basically "been cut off from the international market for 30 years." He says farmers there are producing a great product. But he says they cannot get a fair value for their goods because they are not able to export it.
Conflict and insecurity in Afghanistan is not the only difficulty in getting Afghan saffron to market.
Abdullah Faiz is the head of the country's Herat University. He says Afghanistan has been producing saffron for many years but still has no process that guarantees the spice's quality. So, Herat University is working with Purdue University in Indiana to create a department of food technology for Afghan saffron farmers.
Faiz says the department will help train farmers to produce saffron that is pure and safe.
Rumi carries out its own careful testing process on its product. Matt Holmes says it was the quality and taste of Rumi's saffron that convinced him to buy it. But he also likes the company's support for Afghanistan.
"And you are kind of doing double duty with the program that they have with helping farmers in Afghanistan and helping women and being a positive influence besides just selling a product, so you really get the best of both worlds."
Investors have noticed the company's success. Billionaire businessman Mark Cuban invested $250,000 after the company competed on the television show "Shark Tank."
I'm Jill Robbins.
1.as well as 和...一样
They visited some factories, hospitals as well as the school.
2.television show 电视节目
We watched a live television show.
3.positive influence 积极影响
The development and further opening of the Pudong New Area has produced a positive influence on economic growth.
4.carries out 开展；实施
China carries out policy for opening up external and activation internal.
1.Alaniz says Afghanistan has basically "been cut off from the international market for 30 years."
cut off 切断；阻隔
Our phone's been cut off.
They were almost completely cut off from the outside world.
2.Keith Alaniz is another of the founders of the company, along with Emily Miller.
along with 伴随；与...一道
The baby's mother escaped from the fire along with two other children.
The problem of pollution arises along with the rapid development of industry.
藏红花是全球最昂贵的香料之一 。有时甚至被认为和金钱等值，历史上也曾被当做货币流通 。藏红花的原料是一种在欧洲、伊朗和印度被大量种植的花 。现在，美国一家公司正在开发阿富汗藏红花的新市场 。
在芝加哥一家名为Ba-Ba-Reeba咖啡馆，藏红花是主厨马特·霍姆斯（Matt Holmes）菜单上不可或缺的材料 。
“我们在海鲜饭中加入藏红花，这是我们店里的招牌菜 。其他甜点和菜品中都需要用到藏红花 。所以优质的藏红花非常重要 。”
金伯利·荣格（Kimberly Jung）是鲁米香料的创始人 。她介绍称，公司的名字取自13世纪阿富汗诗人和思想家——加拉鲁丁·鲁米 。
基思·阿兰那兹（Keith Alaniz）和艾米丽·米勒（Emily Miller）是鲁米香料的另外两名创始人 。他们是曾在阿富汗服役的美国老兵 。阿兰那兹表示，归国后不止空有一身战斗经验 。
“我难以下定决心，不管是当时奔赴阿富汗，在那里停留生活，还是离开那里后且不再想念 。尤其是你和当地的居民产生了感情，你了解他们，熟悉他们的家人 。”
因此，荣格和阿兰那兹开始销售阿富汗赫拉特省农民种植的藏红花 。阿富汗对藏红花的需求量较少，当地农民们只能依靠出口 。
阿兰那兹称，阿富汗已经“脱离国际市场30年” 。他表示，虽然当地农民种植的藏红花质量上乘 。但却因为无法出口而得不到相应的回馈 。
阿卜杜拉·菲斯（Abdullah Faiz）是阿富汗赫拉特大学校长 。他指出，阿富汗种植藏红花已经多年，但是缺乏能够保证藏红花质量的工序 。因此，赫拉特大学和印第安纳州的普渡大学合力为阿富汗种植藏红花的农民打造了一处食品技术部 。
鲁米香料公司有自己的一套产品检测工序 。霍姆斯表示，他信赖鲁米藏红花的质量和口感 。他也同样欣赏鲁米公司支持阿富汗的举动 。
“投资者们也注意到这家公司的成功 。该公司登上《鲨鱼坦克》节目后获得亿万富翁马克·库班（Mark Cuban）25万美元的投资 。”