American University of Beirut

Saffron Field Day at AREC

Photo by Mrs. Najah Jaroush Abdouni​

On the occasion of the saffron harvesting season, FAFS’ Advancing Research Enabling Communities Center (AREC) warmly extended an invitation to members of the AUB community, including faculty, staff, and alumni, as well as interested individuals beyond the community, to partake in a one-day Saffron Field Day held on Sunday, November 26th, 2023. The event unfolded in the embrace of picturesque autumn nature.

A captivating presentation, delivered by Dr. Mustapha Haidar (AREC Director), on the mission of AREC, saffron production, and harvesting took place in the lecture hall. The interactions of the 92 attendees were keenly observed. In addition to the detailed audio, visual, and verbal explanations, the enthusiastic audience, eager for knowledge about saffron, engaged in inquiring more about this precious spice.

The Field Day proved to be delightful as attendees marveled at the blanket of little purple flowers covering a 1-ha field arranged in multiple vertical rows, resembling a vast carpet. With the assistance of approximately 92 casual laborers, each attendee participated in the hands-on experience of harvesting, along with a field demonstration and explanation. As a token of appreciation, participants were given the chance to harvest a small cluster of flowers. Attendees also had the unique opportunity to visit the laboratories and witness the final step of harvesting: the drying and storing process.

The Saffron Field Day concluded with a light brunch featuring delicious Saj Manakish prepared from​ ingredients produced at AREC. Reflecting on the day, Mr. Mohamad Shehab and Mrs. Najah Jaroush remarked, "The Field Day was not only enjoyable but also highly informative and educational."

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