March 22, 2021 2 min read
From farm to factory, seed to spice-cabinet, we do things differently. Heilala makes vanilla that is seriously good and fair for all with a direct and transparent supply chain.
Grown on rich, Pacific soil and dried under the Polynesian sun, the world’s best vanilla isn’t made in a lab — it’s the all-natural product of a perfect climate and hard-working farmers and families who carefully cultivate and hand-select premium vanilla beans, to undergo a curing and drying process where 200+ flavor compounds develop.
Vanilla orchid plants bear a small creamy flower that must be hand pollinated. All our weeding mulching, pollinating, picking, drying, curing, and grading is completed by hand.
Sela, our Farm Manager in Tonga is just as passionate about growing vanilla and works hard to make sure that the vanilla we grow is the best in the world.
Approximately nine months after pollination, mature green beans are ready to be picked. Our farmers allow the beans to ripen on the vine, hand-selecting the vanilla beans as their tips start to turn yellow.
Once picked, the green beans are blanched in boiling water which starts the chemical reaction to develop the vanilla flavor followed by a sweating process. Our traditional curing method results in flavorful vanilla beans.
The vanilla beans are turned hourly whilst drying under the South Pacific sun every day for three months. In this time the vanilla flavor develops and intensifies, and beans turn dark brown and become supple and full of aromatic seeds. Our farmers know exactly once the vanilla beans have reached perfection.
Vanilla beans are aged and filtered for three months in extraction tanks to create a vanilla extract which is the base of most Heilala Vanilla Products. A range of vanilla products are then crafted in our purpose-built facility such as vanilla paste, alcohol free vanilla, sugar, syrup along with vanilla beans and powder.
Heilala Vanilla products are shipped around the world to chefs and bakers who appreciate high quality vanilla whilst supporting the grower communities in Tonga with every baking creation.
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