Vanilla is an Orchid - September 2021

Aloha from Hawai’i Island! Our theme this month is Orchid, and we are delighted to present this box of paradise featuring a live orchid plant from Kalapana Tropicals! 

Orchids belong to the second largest family of flowering plants, Orchidaceae, and includes 28,000 species across 763 genera. Renowned for their incredible flowers with long-lasting blooms, horticulturalists have created more than 100,000 hybrids and cultivars. The Big Island of Hawai'i is known as "Orchid Isle," due in part to the ideal growing conditions and many farms that have developed over the years.  

We also have a fine selection of vanilla products. Vanilla is the second most expensive spice in the world! (behind saffron), and is actually the only member of the orchid family that is harvested to produce a spice and food product. Originally from Mexico, vanilla was brought to Hawai'i sometime in the 1800s, but commercial production didn't really begin until The Hawaiian Vanilla Company led by Jim and Tracy Reddekopp began growing vanilla in 1998. You can try their Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar in this month's Big Island Box!

Production of vanilla on Hawai'i remains small-scale and limited due to the high cost labor-intensive process of growing and curing the pods. Read about the patient process in this article from West Hawaii Today. 

Here are the full contents of the September 2021 Orchid Big Island Box:

  •  Kalapana Tropicals has been a certified orchid farm since 1987, and has locations in both Kalapana and Mountain View. Included in each Orchid themed Big Island Box is an Oncidium “Gold Dust” orchid plant, available for retail purchase for $24. 
  • The Hawaiian Vanilla Company is a family owned and operated vanilla farm located in Pa’auilo up the Hamakua Coast, established in 1998. They offer incredible farm tours that include a gourmet luncheon and of course vanilla ice cream! We are featuring their Vanilla Cinnamon Sugar in the box this month.
  • Hawai’i’s Local Buzz is the brand of Paradise Meadows Orchard and Bee Farm, located off South Point Road in the Ka’u District. They grow 100% Ka’u Coffee, Macadamia Nuts, and Hawaiian Honey (you gotta have bees to pollinate your macadamia nuts of course!). We’ve included a package of their Vanilla Crunch flavored dehydrated macadamia nuts.
  • A beautiful Orchid Greeeting Card from artist Garry Palm is another item in the box this month. Garry has been painting Hawaiian inspired watercolor works of art for decades, ever since falling in love with the island on his honeymoon and then moving here soon after.
  • Passion Moon Potions crafts luxurious and decadent skin care products from the Kona laboratory of Francesca Corinne Sakai. We have a Hawaiian Vanilla coconut-based soap with cocoa butter in the Orchid box.
  • Finally, we have included a single vanilla pod from Coe Botanica, a spice company run by farmer Caleb Coe. This vanilla pod was grown at King’s Trail Farm in Waipi’o Valley, and hand cured under the Sun for almost a year. Caleb reminds us on his website: 
We acknowledge that Coe Botanica and King’s Trail Farm are located on the mokupuni of Hawaiʻi, in the paeʻāina of Hawaiʻi, the native ʻāina of the Hawaiian people. Generations of Hawaiians and their knowledge systems shaped Hawaiʻi in a sustainable way that allows us to share and enjoy her gifts today.
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