Hawaiian Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world and we are fortunate that it is grown right on our island, the Big Island of Hawaii, and we are proud to be able to include this exotic ingredient in our delicious treat to bring the "real taste of paradise" from our home to yours.
Vanilla is the pod of an orchid plant that bears a scentless celadon-colored flower. Vanilla planifolia is one of the 20,000 varieties of orchid, the only one that bears anything edible (except for a few edible flowers like vandas).
The majority of the plants are started in a vineyard, by taking cuttings from mature plants. Planted in the perfect soil mixture the healthy keiki’s are then transplanted into containers and trained upwards until the time of flowering.
The key to the production of a vanilla pod or vanilla bean is pollination. Buds form on the vine of the vanilla plant after three years (see photos), blooming only one day per year, for just a few short hours.
Vanilla has one natural pollinator, the Melipona Bee, which must be there exactly when that orchid orchid bud blossoms. The coincidental timing is virtually impossible, so the vanilla plant must be hand-pollinated in order to produce a vanilla bean pod.
If the “marriage of vanilla” is successful, then vanilla bean pods will form and mature about eight to nine months later, looking like round green beans about six to seven inches long. Once the pod is mature, it is picked and dried and then used as an ingredient in our delicious cookies, candies, and other special treats.