Vanilla Weddings in the South Pacific – Video

A vanilla wedding in the South Pacific? How about hundreds of them every year? Forge on to discover how organic vanilla is grown on the tropical island of Lifou in New Caledonia, with my mini movie and gorgeous pics!

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The vanilleraie on Lifou

The vanilleraie on Lifou

 

On my recent trip to New Caledonia I found a small organic vanilla plantation in the Botanic Garden on the island of Lifou. Watch the story unfold ….

 

In a nutshell:

  • Mexican vanilla was introduced by the missionaries in the 1800’s
  • The plantation is growing each year as more vines are planted – cuttings are taken from the original vines
  • It takes about 7 years from planting to produce beans
  • The plant flowers in October to November
  • The flowers are not scented
  • This is the beautiful vanilla flower

    This is the beautiful vanilla flower

     

  • As the plants are an introduced species the local insects and birds do not pollinate the flower – this has to be done by hand
  • The male organ in the flower is gently touched to the female organ – this is the pollinating process
  • Pollinating must be done in the morning as the flowers close in the afternoon
  • Once the flower has dried and died, the vanilla beans grow
The young vanilla bean

The young vanilla bean

  • When the time is right the beans are picked and plunged into boiling water for 3 minutes
  • The beans are dried in both sun and shade for 3 months then placed into aging boxes to develop – just like wine
  • Lifou currently sends all its harvest to Noumea but is aspiring to export worldwide when the crops are more bountiful
My wonderful guide

My wonderful guide

It was so hot and the tour continued onto other beautiful sights, like a tribal hut and he Cliffs of Jokin. I wish I had asked a few more questions but the tour party pressed on. And I can’t believe I forgot my guide’s name. The heat got into my brain!

The Cliffs of Jokin

The Cliffs of Jokin

The picture does not do the water justice – it was a stunning turquoise blue. We also spotted a shark swimming around.

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

copryright SR Banks 2015

5 thoughts on “Vanilla Weddings in the South Pacific – Video

  1. Magnificent post on such a stunning plant and flower and My Oh My – your photos are beyond BEAUTIFUL!! The plantation looks like a dream. I had no idea the flowers do not actually give off a scent – I am puzzled by this. Does this mean the lovely fragrance is stored in the ripe pods? Also, what is the purpose of plunging the picked pods in water for 3 minutes?…..would have loved that tour!! Thanks for sharing, Suzanne – Hugs!!

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