the world’s most expensive spice


the world's most expensive spice

Saffron - the stigma and styles (or threads)  of the saffron crocus - is the world's most expensive spice - so valued that its price fluctuates daily, just like gold or silver.

Lieutenant Commander Lee Robinson has made quite a transition from his defence career as a weapons electrical engineer to a farmer who produces just tiny amounts of this incredibly valuable spice.

Costing from around $1300 per kilogram up to $8000 per kilo, so far Lee's biggest harvest has been just 205 grams. He admits that this year's harvest has been tiny due to the weather not being optimal.

"We're hoping to get production up to a kilo", laughs Lee.

He and his wife, Jen, had bought a farm in northern Tasmania a few years ago and the plan was to eventually head to there to establish a small farming business.

"When I attended the Prince's Trust veteran business program, my initial idea was a worm farm.

Now, it's sheep and saffron! It was fantastic to be able to work through ideas with a group of others who were going through the same process."

Jen & Lee Robinson
Jen & Lee Robinson

Lee and Jen also run sheep on their property, Eladnelle Farm, and this is what keeps the project going while they work on building up the business in saffron.

So while production of their saffron may only be tiny at this point, it is already winning awards including the 2020 Delicious Produce Award for Tasmania and now competing with producers across Australia.

You can find out more about Lee's journey from defence to farm in our Enterprise podcast below and how Prince's Trust Australia helped him take the leap into his own small business.

In this podcast, Lee talks about his diverse career, both within defence and as a civilian. He also shares why his second time with Navy was 'the best posting of his life'.

Delicious Awards
Saffron threads and flowers