Pampore
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Harvesting Saffron with Farmers in Kashmir
The international saffron festival in Pampore, Kashmir took place last month after years of struggle to launch an undertaking that would be daunting in itself but was made all the more so by years of conflict with Pakistan. In spite of their recent struggles, the farmers we harvested saffron with were extraordinarily warm and gracious. They taught us about the difference between real saffron and the counterfeit varieties proliferating in the region and how to detect a fake, they showed us how to deftly pluck the three precious saffron stamens from the crocus flower from which it comes, and we learned how to make kahwa tea, a saffron based tea infused with honey, cinnamon, cardamom, and centuries of history. I highly recommend making the journey to Pampore to attend what the saffron harvesters of the region hope becomes a thriving festival for years to come.
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