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The 2022 Harvest Season is Looking Great!

We’re a cou­ple of months into the har­vest by now, and the beans are com­ing in strong. It’s been a sea­son that starts ear­ly and ramps up slow­ly. The same is hap­pen­ing with the flow­ers: we got our first buds in late January, and although we’re pol­li­nat­ing every day, the num­ber of flow­ers we’re see­ing has increased slow­ly since then.

Unseasonably Dry Year

image of two vanilla flowers in shadow lit by the sun
The pale flow­ers open in the morn­ing sun

This year has brought an unusu­al peri­od of dry weath­er, which is affect­ing every­thing around the home­stead. Young vanil­la plants are espe­cial­ly vul­ner­a­ble and sev­er­al columns in the new vanillery have suf­fered set­backs and failed to grow. We’re tak­ing the unusu­al step of hav­ing to hand water to keep things grow­ing. Mature vanil­la plans are quite drought-resis­tant, but these new guys are hav­ing a hard time devel­op­ing the essen­tial feed­er roots need­ed for that kind of robustness.

In the main vanillery, insect pests that usu­al­ly don’t pose much of a prob­lem are set­ting up shop and doing some dam­age. We’re tak­ing care of that, but being an organ­ic grow­er means that what we need to do takes more work and time. It’s all about gen­tle and per­sis­tent mea­sures when you work with nature.

Yes, It’s Looking Great

Despite the chal­lenges, in gen­er­al the vanillery is thriv­ing and healthy, plen­ty of beans to har­vest for this year and the flower buds are every­where, sig­nal­ing anoth­er good crop in 2023.

16 thoughts on “The 2022 Harvest Season is Looking Great!

  1. Hi, I grow a few vanil­la vines on the northshore. Just start­ed sweat­ing about 2 lbs of beans using your guide­lines. Only I’m using a water heat­ed tow­el warmer in place of an ice chest, have it set at 115 degrees. I’m in my 3rd day, beans are brown, soft and moist but not sticky. Do I have a prob­lem ? Any advice. Thanks. Andy

    1. No, sounds good. How did you “kill” your beans? If you put them in the freez­er, then at first, there will be a lot of mois­ture that is most­ly water. This will be gone in 4–5 days as you’re giv­ing the beans some dry time every day. Beans that were killed in hot water don’t release as much mois­ture, so it has a thick­er consistency.

  2. Thanks, I had my beans in the freez­er till all beans were har­vest­ed, then thawed them in water as per your sug­ges­tions. Now in my 5th day of sweat­ing. When should the aro­ma of the beans change to more vanil­la smell.

    1. The vanil­la aro­ma devel­ops slow­ly over the course of the cur­ing process. After 5 days, it’s won’t real­ly smell like vanil­la yet.

      1. Thanks, I’m now in my 11th day of sweat­ing. You indi­cate it takes about 18 days to com­plete the sweat, what am I look­ing for on my beans to know the sweat is done.

        1. I always keep the beans in the sweat for at least 18 days, this is to ensure that the largest beans have enough time. You can go longer, I some­times go 2 or 3 days more, but usu­al­ly it’s just 18 days, then I move them to the open air dry­ing racks.

        2. I guess a more direct answer to your ques­tion is that I don’t look for any indi­ca­tion that they are “done” I just give them the time.

    2. Andy, after two weeks in the sweat box the beans smell musty and leath­ery but no vanil­la. After anoth­er cou­ple of weeks of the dry­ing process they start to smell like vanil­la. This inten­si­fies over the next two months of cur­ing and it becomes intox­i­cat­ing. I keep my beans in corked test tubes and take them out, mas­sage them, and let them breathe every few weeks.

      1. That’s great, sounds like things are going well with your curing!

  3. How can one get vanil­la extract

    1. We’ve got extract for sale in our store.

      Hawaiian Vanilla Extract

  4. Thank you for all the great information!

  5. Roland,
    I notice ants on my racemes. They appear not to harm the raceme or the flow­ers. Should I leave them alone or are they detri­men­tal to the health of my vanil­la plants.

    1. Hi Charles,

      It’s pret­ty com­mon to see ants on the racemes, and most­ly it’s not a prob­lem, but it is pos­si­ble they are farm­ing oth­er insects which can be dam­ag­ing, such as mealy­bugs. It’s a good idea to check every once in a while in place like under leaves or in places that are well pro­tect­ed and hard to see for insects tak­ing up residence.

  6. Is it pos­si­ble to do a vist / tour on a Saturday.

    1. Aloha Andy,

      Sorry, no we only lead tours on Fridays, tomorow is booked, so the next oppor­tu­ni­ty for a tour is July 8, between 12:30 and 4 is open.

      –Roland

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