Out in the sleepy West Texas City of Tahoka, population 2500 people, the most luxurious spice in the world is being grown.

Photo by Syed F Hashemi on Unsplash
Photo by Syed F Hashemi on Unsplash
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If you ever get to visit Taoka, which is just a few miles south of Lubbock, Texas, you'll run into Meraki Meadows farm.

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A family-owned farm run by Karl McDonald and the rest of his ten-person clan, Meraki Meadows is the ONLY commercial saffron farm in Texas.

Photo by Benyamin Bohlouli on Unsplash
Photo by Benyamin Bohlouli on Unsplash
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Profiled in a new report by everythingLubbock.com, the McDonald family spills the tea on what it's like to be saffron farmers.

Coming in at a whopping minimum of $9,000 per pound, saffron is the most expensive spice in the entire world.

Photo by Mohammad Amiri on Unsplash
Photo by Mohammad Amiri on Unsplash
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Maybe Mexican cartels should get out of the cocaine game and into the saffron arena.

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Saffron is valued 1) for its flavor, where it's used in iconic cultural dishes like the classic Spanish seafood dish paella; and 2) for the incredible amount of manual labor it takes to collect just a minuscule amount.

Photo by Mehdi Torabi on Unsplash
Photo by Mehdi Torabi on Unsplash
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Saffron comes from the inside of a flower, Crocus Sativa, specifically it's the small and extremely thin hairlike strands of the stigma, part of a flower's reproductive organ.

Photo by marlik saffron on Unsplash
Photo by marlik saffron on Unsplash
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In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Karl McDonald quickly discovered that the dry West Texas climate was perfect for growing Crocus flowers.


“He ordered 20,000 bulbs and we had no idea what saffron was but he ordered the bulbs and then that Labor Day after COVID we started planting it, and it has just grown from there,” said Brazos Beck, a family member and a part of Meraki Meadows.


But harvesting those tiny red hairs is a work-intensive process,

Photo by Artam Hoomat on Unsplash
Photo by Artam Hoomat on Unsplash
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For a family of 10, in just a span of two days, they have hand-picked and processed over 2,000 flowers.

“There’s so many flowers, I mean, we have to pick just about every day so that they don’t get wilted and get bad. Then once we pick them, we take them in here and get to separate them out piece by piece — like you tear the red part off and that’s the part that it’s actually used for,” said Beck.

Photo by marlik saffron on Unsplash
Photo by marlik saffron on Unsplash
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If you're wondering how a simple flower could cost so much check out the video below:

Let me know what YOU think at nico@klaq.com

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