I’m a young Iranian importer originally from the ancient city of Isfahan where, after I graduated from university, I worked as a journalist for a few years. I lived in a region where the people are still tied to their ancient traditions and lifestyles. It’s situated in an area that is still partially uncontaminated by urbanization, where peoples’ lives are still tied to dietary improvement and the pursuit of mental and physical well-being. Coming from one such family, a background in the knowledge and development of the use of medicinal plants, spices, aromatic herbs, and wild berries is a precious asset that has been passed down from generation to generation, despite modern technological advancements, of which young people such as myself continue to be loyal custodians.
A Taste for the Simple Things
I have always been fascinated by nature and plants, everything from blades of grass to huge trees. They speak to me, they listen to me, they look at me; these plants even grow and mature just as we do as people.
I still remember a simple, humble culture filled with the wisdom of frugal people governed by indispensable rhythm of nature. This is not to say it was idyllic; work for adults was laborious, but for me as a teenager, it was paradise on earth. I remember the smells, the colours, the sounds, the scenery, and the beauty of nature. Today, that all lives inside of me even stronger than ever.
In Spring, lunches were brought to life by the scents of dandelion, dill, and Greek hay. At the centre of the table would sit an enormous bowl of pilaf rice mixed with ruby red bacche di crespino, green pistachios, orange peel, and sliced almonds. A staple to every meal was the tray of raw herbs: basil, mint, and radishes that my father and I had picked from the garden, served as the opening to the convivial secular rite.
Life Between Two Cultures
Eventually the ebbs and flows of life brought me to Italy, where I live and continue to study. It’s here that I was pleasantly surprised to find that, despite globalisation, people are getting back into the ancient food culture that many observed during the Medieval age and the Renaissance; from the careful selection of ingredients to the rediscovery of the value and uses of biological food.
In short, a reawakening of the awareness of ingredients and a rejection of “modern food” in favour of healthy alternatives and the pleasure derived from natural products.
Living between two different cultures, two languages, and two ways of thinking actually turns out to be enlightening, especially when it turns out that they both share common roots.
Passion Becomes Work
Hence was born the idea of combining passion with work in my natural vocation: to re-evaluate and expand on that rich heritage of family observations, experiences, and knowledge by working with the exchange and marketing of products and ingredients, as well as experiences and specific needs that Italian consumers may have in this field.
And so begins my importing and wholesale trade of organic food, spices, and herbal plants, with careful consideration always given to Mother Nature and a food style linked to eco-sustainability, diet, and, above all, the research of human well-being.
The Birth of a Challenge: Origanoor
In Italy, I was fortunate enough to be involved in the passionate debate about good, clean food as an essential element of good health, but without neglecting the taste and pleasure of the eating.
I was personally affected by this debate, and it inspired a challenge for myself: restoring value to food which are healthy for the consumer while staying in perfect harmony with the environment and ecosystems which provide it, all thanks to the rich well of knowledge and traditions that exist around the world. Coming across so many positive examples of this, such as Slow Food, I finally took it upon myself to begin my challenge. To acquire the necessary operational tools, I participated in an enterprise start-up project supported by the Region of Veneto and funded by the European Social Fund.
From this, Origanoor is born, which, in addition to relying on a close-knit network of small producers in Iran, also makes use of valued consultants in Italy; above all else, Origanoor depends on the advice and suggestions of the owners of companies that market these products and who are in daily contact with Italian consumers.