The story of Akaito starts with our culture. A culture of craftsmanship, innovation, and fastidious care that is unsurpassed in the world. One of our cultural strengths is our ability to combine the master craftsman’s art with production efficiency. Akaito Japanese Saffron exceeds the ISO 3632 Grade I Saffron Standard; the highest standard of saffron in the world.
Our coveted terroir of rich volcanic soil and mountain microclimate provides the natural materials and environment for growing the best saffron in the world. Every step of our cultivation and production process is conducted meticulously at the Akaito terroir and according to our 300 year old Japanese tradition.
Our saffron estates are cultural ecosystems. Family traditions and ways of life are complexly entwined with the natural environment—the soul of Akaito Japanese Saffron™.
The bulb or “corm” is the saffron plant’s natural storehouse of energy. It powers growth and flowering. Bigger, healthier corms produce stronger flowers that are saturated with higher concentrations of the 150+ compounds for saffron’s aroma, taste, and color. Akaito’s Japanese corms are twice the size and four times the density of corms found anywhere else in the world.
Our corms have a 300 year lineage in Japan; only the best corms are used for the following season. Our corms have been enhanced further by Akaito’s proprietary, all-natural methods of corm hibernation, expansion, and cleaving.
We plant each corm by hand in our
terroir and allow them to “charge” naturally
with energy for several months. We then
harvest the corms and allow them to hibernate
in traditional, naturally environment-controlled
darkrooms. The corms are scrupulously
protected from dust, contaminants, weather,
UV radiation, and other harmful things.
When the cool winds of late autumn trigger the corms to sprout and bloom in the dark, we harvest the saffron flowers one by one, and not when we want to harvest them—when they want to be harvested. We harvest at various times and days during several weeks, making many passes over the same flowers and only harvesting flowers that are perfectly ready to yield their treasure.
And all of this is done by hand.
We govern the minutest detail of the
cultivation, processing, and distribution of
Akaito Japanese Saffron™ by “The Akaito Way.”
Advanced science and best-in-class Japanese processes and are two of Akaito’s three pillars of proprietary saffron cultivation. The third pillar is our culture, and one of our cultural strengths is our ability to combine the master craftsman’s art with production efficiency. For example, centuries-old techniques in silkworm production have been adapted to Akaito’s proprietary saffron production process We have integrated traditional Japanese farming methods, advanced R&D and technology, and “double-blind” pharmaceutical grade testing by independent ISO laboratories.
Being the best in the world is not good enough for Akaito. Kaizen (改善) — the Japanese method of continuous improvement — is integral to The Akaito Way.
Akaito’s Master Saffron Cultivators are unrivaled in the
world. Each has from 40 to 60 years of
expertise in Japanese cultivation techniques of
saffron, and each oversees production of the
best saffron in the world according to The
Akaito Way. All Akaito Masters have rich family
histories in farming, dating back countless
generations in Japan.
This expertise goes beyond books, R&D, and processes. Akaito Masters are able to sense— just by touching the corm—the viability and potential of the saffron. This sense develops over decades of experience and starts when one is very young.
In the way that Japanese master sword smiths imbue their works with spirit, the “soul” of Akaito Japanese Saffron™ is sparked, nurtured, and protected by these master craftsman.
Akaito Japanese Saffron™ already exceeds the ISO 3632 Grade I Saffron Standard for the three main compounds: crocin, picrocrocin and safranal, measurements of color, flavor and aroma strength, respectively. We set our target even higher that our current performance to maintain our preeminence as a producer of peerless saffron. Akaito is aiming to set a record by exceeding the ISO Grade I standard by 200% by the 2021 Harvest Season.
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