Fairtrade Saffron. Steenbergs Fairtrade saffron comes from Iran. Around 85% of global saffron comes from Iran, where it is still produced on small family farms, but it is now thanks to the establishment of the 'Arghavan Dasht e Paeezan' co-operative in October 2012 that Steenbergs are able to import this high quality hand-picked saffron under the Fairtrade banner.
Literally worth its weight in gold, saffron is the world's most expensive spice, taking anything between 60,000 and 300,000 purple crocus flowers to make just one kilogram of dried saffron. The process is heavily labour intensive, with whole villages involved in harvesting the flowers from the fields, extracting the stigmas and then curing them to product the final dark red strands. Quality of saffron can vary enormously with many lower grades still containing a proportion of thicker yellow threads.