The beans we harvested late last winter have now cured and aged enough to be sold! There will only be limited quantities at first, as beans that were harvested later in the season are not done aging yet.
A Small-ish Harvest this Year
For probably several reasons, flower and fruit set last spring (2018) was not as strong as the year before. I don’t know if this experience was shared by other vanilla farmers, but we certainly had a lot of rain last spring. The current theory is that rain during the pollinating season can affect pollination rates.
Anyway, this year we are going to have something like 2/3 the amount of beans we had last year. And with less available stock, prices will inch up slightly. An ounce of grade A beans is now going to be $35, up from $33 last year.
Even with that, we still offer a really good price for Hawaiian vanilla beans compared to other growers in the state. We are a bit of an outlier in that we sell our beans by the ounce (instead of by the bean). This is because we want to be a supplier of vanilla to people who really want to use the beans, they are not just a souvenir.
It’s finally time to start selling our 2018 vanilla harvest! I’m putting together the retail packages today and soon we’ll have them in the store to sell. I’m pretty excited about the vanilla we have to offer this year, it is without question the best quality vanilla we have ever produced.
This year, we will be selling the beans two ways: First, for the best, largest, and most beautiful beans, in small priced-by-the-bean packages of 2. We’ll also be selling our grade A and grade B beans by the ounce, so even if there are a few smaller beans in there, you’ll know you’re getting all the vanilla you’re paying for. The quality is just excellent either way.
If you’re a wholesale customer for whole vanilla, let me know, and I’ll get a bulk price sheet out to you.
As the beans complete their curing, they need to be inspected, sorted, and packaged for long-term storage. We’ve been doing this for 2 months now, and some of the earliest beans to go into storage are ready for sale or to be made into one of our vanilla products, such as extract or syrup.
The beans are initially sorted into three groups: Grade A, Grade B and Extract. This is according to moisture content and appearance. They are then vacuum-packed and will be aged in that state for 1–6 months.
This year’s harvest is our first big harvest and we’re not quite sure how it’s all going to get marketed. Of course there will be online retail sales, and perhaps a couple of shops on the island will carry our vanilla products.
We are engaging our contacts in the culinary world, too. We’re interested to know how the quality of our beans measures up with people who know vanilla…and of course, we will be selling wholesale to professionals who are looking for artisanal Hawaiian vanilla.
Today we’re rolling out our first products for sale! Over the years, we’ve sold these beans through friends, at local farmer’s markets and to local culinary professionals, and though we always intended to make our beans widely available, we always seemed to be too busy to make that happen. Well, now it’s time to offer our unique product to everyone on the internet.
Our first offerings will be very simple: Grade A and Grade B whole vanilla beans and 2‑ounce bottles of our homemade Kauaʻi rum vanilla extract.
I received the vanilla today and was so blown away by the fragrance when I opened the shipping envelope! I can’t wait to open the actual package at work tomorrow. The beans are the largest and most beautiful I have ever seen!!!
The Grade B Hawaiian vanilla beans are very nice. The beans are a good size, moist and have an oily shine. The aroma was very strong and sweet & reminded me of vanilla caramels. These vanilla beans are excellent quality.