This beautiful orchid (v. planifolia) is very difficult to grow; quality vanilla only comes from good vines and growing practices. Uganda has an ideal climate for vanilla farming with two harvest seasons (July and January). All vanilla grown today is pollinated by hand and the flower is open for only one day, so you have to watch your crop very carefully!
Our main Vanilla curing plant is in Ntenjeru near Mukono, to the East of Kampala. The curing process includes scalding, sweating, slow drying and conditioning of the beans and takes upwards of six months!
The market for green vanilla in Uganda can be volatile which means we have to maintain constant close contact with farmers all the way across the country in order to support their families and obtain vanilla beans of highest quality.
We currently buy vanilla from a group of approximately 2,815 farmers.
Because of the rostellum that covers the stem, the vanilla orchid flower cannot self pollinate and the pollen is highly inaccessible to most pollinating insects. All commercial vanilla is now pollinated by hand, and our farmers have to keep an eye on their vines as each flower only lasts for one day!