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We’re Finally Getting Back to Scotland

photo of Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh

On a per­son­al note, Lisa and I are going to Europe for sev­er­al weeks this year. We have strong ties to Scotland, and it’s been too long since we visited.

The Store Will be Closed While We’re Gone

In the spir­it of vaca­tion, we won’t want to wor­ry about get­ting orders filled while we’re gone.

If you want to order, plase come back after November 8, we’ll be open and ready to ship vanil­la products!

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The Amazon Vanilla Project and Sustainable Rainforest Agriculture

The Amazon Vanilla Project oper­ates in the San Martín dis­trict of north­ern Peru, pro­vid­ing edu­ca­tion and sup­port for local farm­ers to grow vanil­la as a cash crop. The project is spon­sored by Sekut Vanilla Co. which pro­vides cur­ing and mar­ket­ing ser­vices to local farm­ers. Vanilla, like cacao, can be grown in a for­est set­ting with lit­tle change to the for­est itself, pro­vid­ing a fam­i­ly income while pre­serv­ing the nat­ur­al diver­si­ty of the Amazonian rain­for­est. Vanilla is grown under the for­est canopy, using small trees or trel­lis­es built from avail­able mate­ri­als in the for­est. Since vanil­la is an epi­phyte, its cul­ti­va­tion does not require fer­til­iz­ers or oth­er chem­i­cals. They are nat­u­ral­ly pest-resis­­tant grow­ing in a diver­si­fied set­ting in their home envi­ron­ment. … (read)

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Potting Up Vanilla Seedlings

A few weeks ago, when I was in the vanillery doing a gen­er­al prune, I came across sev­er­al seedling deep under a dense sec­tion of vines. I took note of the loca­tion with the inten­tion of mov­ing the seedlings to pots so they can get a bit big­ger before I plant them out in the new vanillery.

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It’s the Peak of the Vanilla Flowering Season

Lisa and I spent a good part of the morn­ing out in the vanillery pol­li­nat­ing the flow­ers. We’ve been out there every morn­ing for sev­er­al weeks already, but today was dif­fer­ent. It seemed like the entire place was ablaze with the pale blos­soms: every­where you looked, flow­ers beck­oned as if to say “come taste my sweet nec­tar” but of course, we were not there for that. Pollinating a vanil­la flower takes del­i­ca­cy, a steady hand and a famil­iar­i­ty with the anato­my of the orchid’s bloom. After a while, you can do it quick­ly, which is good, because there are sev­er­al hun­dred of them ready to go today. There’s no wait­ing for these flow­ers, they’ll be closed for busi­ness by noon…it’s like… (read)

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Harvesting & The Vanillery is Getting Ready to Flower

Out in the vanillery, we’re start­ing to see the fresh flower buds emerg­ing on the mature vines. Always an excit­ing time of the year as we antic­i­pate the begin­ning of a new cycle. These lit­tle guys will be sprout­ing flow­ers in a cou­ple of weeks!

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First Harvest of the 2021 Season!

The cycle begins anew! This week we pulled our first har­vest out of the vanillery, offi­cial­ly start­ing the 2021 har­vest sea­son.  This year is slight­ly lat­er than most , typ­i­cal­ly we see our first har­vest in the first week or two of January. The har­vest sea­son typ­i­cal­ly goes until late April, so it’s a full 4 months of going into the vanillery to har­vest 3 times a week. This year we are expect­ing a small­er har­vest than last year. There were not as many flowers…not sure why but the crowd­ing in the vanillery could be one factor.

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