Oct. 1, 2018 After a 2002 cyclone devastated Tonga, an archipelago in the South Pacific, some New Zealanders started a vanilla farm there to help the get the country back on its feet. Despite a setback from a vanilla bean shortage this year, it has grown into a thriving enterprise, mostly run by women. The Heilala Vanilla Foundation, established in 2013, is also working with other South Pacific island countries to create viable vanilla plantations. Heilala’s high-quality Bourbon vanilla products include fermented beans, paste, extract, sugar and syrup. Breakfast Vanilla, a morning sweetener, can be used for coffee, yogurt, cereal or even toast. Vanilla production has improved the living conditions in the villages that participate in the company.
Heilala Vanilla products, $12.97 to $239.08, heilalavanilla.com.
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Florence Fabricant is a food and wine writer. She writes the weekly Front Burner and Off the Menu columns, as well as the Pairings column, which appears alongside the monthly wine reviews. She has also written 12 cookbooks.