OH sweet and delicate Vanilla… my “little pod” I do love thee!
This beautiful plant grows, extending its reach to the sun on a vine in the jungle, guided by the trees that stand strong to support its precious flowers, gently waiting to be pollinated. Each flower consists of both male and female parts that will produce one vanilla pod. The sweet flower requires attention from a specific bee in order to pollinate the vanilla pod. The bee is so attracted to the flower, but will generally be turned away from the small aunts that decide to enjoy the flower as well… too much work! The bees, once they tactfully co-ordinate their actions with the aunts, will pollinate usually only a few flowers and the rest of the pods on the vine will die.
In a sincere effort to harvest this precious spice, farmers will carefully take the important job of a bee, and hand pollinate the vanilla pod, one by one, day by day! Careful attention, dedication and time are required. Hand pollination will yield close to twenty pods on a vine… fantastic! Once they are fully developed (and smell heavenly) they are carefully harvested to dry, in the hot Belizean sun. This process, in all, can take close to three months… patience, love and dedication. As we enjoy our natural vanilla, carefully dried and extracted, we can feel a sense of gratitude to the farmers who spend their days in the field, ensuring this plant is nourished… how sweet it really is!