NEVER PLAIN, NEVER DULL, NEVER JUST VANILLA
Our Vanilla Story
We at June Poppies want to change the stigma around vanilla- it does not mean plain, boring, nor does it describe a person.
“VANILLA THE QUEEN OF FLAVOR, NOT YOUR BASIC PUMPKIN SPICE."
YOU CAN HAVE YOUR HANDS ON THE BEST RECIPE IN THE WORLD AND MISS THE MARK BECAUSE YOUR INGREDIENTS FAILED YOU.
YOU are not a bad baker or chef, you’ve been underestimating yourself. I repeat - your ingredients failed you. It can be as simple as expired lavender (a.k.a baking soda/powder) or the fact that the grocery stores only sell big brands that are mass produced and full of unnecessary chemicals. In other words -
“You only get out what you put in. Don't expect more until you do more.”
We too have used sub par ingredients there’s no shame in that but “when you know better you do better.” Maya Angelou Let’s do better together.
Over the past 5 years of professional baking, I have accumulated a significant amount of knowledge on vanilla both as a product and an industry. Here are some facts both well known and hidden.
GETTING VANILLA INTO YOUR PANTRY IS NOT ONLY AN EXTREME PROCESS, IT IS SEVERELY LABOR-INTENSIVE.
Vanilla orchids do not start producing fruit until 3 years after planting. Once the plant finally does bloom, the flowers only stay open for a 6-10 hour period and must be pollinated during that time. Ensuring that the crop is successful and flavorful, farmers hand-pollinate each flower which takes several weeks as the plants flower at various times throughout the “season”. If such pollination does not occur the vanilla pods will not grow.
In general, it takes nine months for seed pods to mature enough to harvest and harvesting usually takes three to four weeks. Once harvested the seed pods must undergo the curing process of drying, wrapping and massaging which takes another three months.
*Please note - Big brands regularly cut corners to produce more beans faster thus creating an inferior product just to keep the supermarket shelves full and their pockets lined.
THE VANILLA INDUSTRY CAN BE QUITE NASTY FOR SOMETHING THAT IS MEANT TO BE SO SWEET.
Farmers and farm workers are regularly taken advantage of, not paid fairly due to middle men and brokers driving up the price and keeping the profits.
Major brands “Pure Vanilla Extract ingredients are often Vanilla bean extractives in water, alcohol (35%) and CORN SYRUP.
During vanilla season, farmers are known to sleep in the fields with machetes guarding their crops through all weather elements and malarial mosquitoes. Beans are marked with initials or symbols and roads are blocked and manned to try and ward off thieves.
It is imperative that vanilla beans are allowed to ripen naturally as more mature vanilla pods produce the best flavor. Big business over the years have taken many shortcuts such as picking unripe pods, passing through brokers and not curing properly.