Precious Vanilla Pods

A vanilla farmer in Malaysia recounts the challenges of cultivating the world’s second most expensive spice. The Vanilla orchid grows as a vine whose flowers open for just a single day. After pollination by hand, the vanilla beans take months to mature, and then months more to dry and cure. That hasn’t deterred farmer K.K. Yong, who invested a small fortune, and began farming vanilla in 2009. He has yet to see a single bloom, let alone a precious pod. In the tropics of Southeast Asia, the climate is right, but the vines take at least 3 years to mature. For now, he has a farm of tropical vines to tend, and plenty of mosquitoes for company. According to Yong, “a big mosquito population means you’re doing something right – the environment is damp enough.” Despite the challenges, Yong is optimistic. “The market and price for vanilla is excellent. With so many people quitting the business, there’s a chance that I can be a major player if my plants start bearing pods!”

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5 Comments on “Precious Vanilla Pods”

  1. YogaRonnie Says:

    Great Blog post. I am going to bookmark and read more often. I love the Blog template

  2. nancy Says:

    Very interesting article, but I can’t imagine that lots of mosquitoes are a good thing 🙁

    I thought the short history of vanillia that it covered was fascinating. It was a slave who figured out the pollination method that’s still used. At least his name is remembered by history so he gets credit for it!

  3. Orchid Lover Says:

    Orchid is one of the most beautiful flowers i love orchids and i own a garden full of orchids
    and i got my own website which all of you are welcome to join me there spicily for orchids is an orchid enthusiast. For more great tips and advice on orchid care, visit

  4. Kelly Snyder Says:

    Count me out as a vanilla farmer! I can still cook with it though.

  5. heidi triem Says:

    i didn’t know vanilla came from an orchid! how sweet is that! thanks. that was interesting.