TAHOKA, Texas – A family-owned farm in Tahoka specializes in growing the world’s most expensive spice, saffron.
For the past three years, Meraki Meadows has been growing saffron, a spice that could sell for at least $9,000 a pound.
Karl McDonald got the idea to grow saffron during the COVID-19 pandemic. McDonald and his family quickly realized that the West Texas climate was perfect for crocus blooms and ordered 20,000 Crocus Sativus bulbs from the Netherlands.
“He ordered 20,000 bulbs and we had no idea what saffron was, but he ordered the bulbs and then on Labor Day after COVID, we started planting them and it just grew from there,” Brazos said Beck, a family member and part of Meraki Meadows.
But it’s not the exquisite taste that makes the spice expensive; it’s the work. The care of these delicate flowers must be done by hand.
“It’s definitely hard and it takes a lot of time. Just for a month, it’s a lot of work. After it has grown you can pick and this starts with hands-on experience, picking and processing. That’s the most time-consuming part,” said Kaden McDonald, a family member and part of Meraki Meadows.
The family was able to cut planting time from 3 weeks to 42 hours by constructing a mechanism on the back of a tractor that allows them to plant multiple bulbs as they go.
For a family of 10, over 2,000 flowers were handpicked and processed in just two days.
“There are so many flowers, I mean we have to pick almost every day so they don’t wither and go bad. Once we’ve picked them, we bring them in here and separate them piece by piece – like tearing off the red part, and that’s the part that it’s actually used for,” Beck said.
Meraki Meadows is the only commercial saffron farm in Texas. The family business hopes to ship the luxurious condiment nationwide.
“That’s one of my favorite things about saffron. We just all get together and spend a lot of time together, share a lot of stories, but I mean the goal is just survive this year and plant more and move on to the next one,” said Andrea McDonald, a family member part of Meraki meadows
For more information, visit the Meraki Meadows website here.