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The Finest Agroforestry Vanilla is by Sylvanilla

HOW TO CHOOSE VANILLA PODS?

 

DIRECT SOURCING

1- The number one rule is to source Vanilla pods directly from the Vanilla Farmers, rather than from resellers, as far as possible. It guarantee the origin and you have much more chances to source high quality Vanilla. Possibly you may even choose your vanilla pods. Click HERE if you wish to learn more about Agroforestry Vanilla Farmers.

 

HOW WORTH IS FARMERS' WORK?

2 - The number two rule is to pay the correct price. Too often the cheapest price is overall what most buyers are looking for, rather than the quality of the vanilla, and it's exactly how low quality reach on the market, which is counterproductive for farmers.

 

UNSCRUPULOUS RESELLERS

On the other hand it have resellers who literally overprice by selling for 1 Planifolia Vanilla pod 20 euros, trying to make more money than the farmers themselves without providing any work nor even adding value to the Vanilla. They buy to resell and enrich themself on the back of the farmers and that's unacceptable. (i.e. "david vanille", "paul galand vanille", "indri vanilla"). 

Try to stick in between those "too cheap to be good" and "too expensive to be honest". 250 US$ by kg is the benchmark price FOB (without transport) set by Madagascar for the Vanilla Planifolia Bourbon shipped by tons. Which means that below this price, no vanilla farmer can produce high quality vanilla pods by kilo only and sustain on vanilla crop alone. It's like paying less than 5 cents per hour of work! Is it acceptable to you? So why would it be at all?

HIDDEN COSTS

Many additional costs must also be taken into consideration: packaging, marketing, transport, insurance, certificates, export licence, custom clearance, inspections and analysis, are all the costs involved in a glass tube of vanilla pods.

AROMAS AND FLAVOURS

3 - The number three rule is the powerful aromas and flavours the vanilla pods must have, supple and thick appearance, slightly shiny and more or less oily but not sticky and not brittle, and they do not open when rolled up, unless they are split vanilla pods which are the late harvests that actually contain higher vanillin from 2.5% up to 5% and may crystallise when properly stored. Note that our criteria is 2% minimum vanillin content for Vanilla Planifolia and anything below is low quality vanilla Planifolia. Each specie have different components recipes and content, vanillin is not necessarily the most relevant in V. Tahitensis, V. Pompona, V. Bahiana, V. Cribbiana, V. Chamissonis and V. Costaricensis.

APPROPRIATE STORAGE

Properly stored means in glass tubes, glass jars or airtight organic containers, well protected from the light, heat and frost. These are the optimum conditions to keep your vanilla pods intact for couple years and even bonifying with age. Glass allow micro-air circulation, not the airtight vacuum packs which also transfer chemicals on vanilla pods, supposedly organic.

DIRECT CONTACT

If you want to directly order from the farmers and provided that the farmers agree, you can send us an email and we'll share the contact details of the farmers and introduce you accordingly, to even better support agroforestry farmers ✉ contact@sylvanilla.ch

FINE FOOD AND SPICES STORES ***

Following positive experiences and feedbacks we highly recommend the negociants: ♡ Monde de Vanille ♡ Roellinger ♡ Oranessence ♡ Vibration Epices ♡ Colibri Vanille ♡ Vanillas of the World®

MANDATORY CERTIFICATES

4 - The number four rule is the set of documents which shall always be provided together with the vanilla pods: the shipment tracking number if any, a packing list (unless by pod), an invoice and a phytosanitary certificate from the origin country are the minimum requirements; a certificate of origin and analysis are strongly advised too, especially if it's a first order, or new species of Vanilla. If the reseller cannot provide you with these certificates it is because the vanilla has neither been inspected nor analyzed.

 

NO STORAGE IN AIRTIGHT VACUUM

The packaging is also important and we do not advise to purchase the vanilla packed in airtight vacuum bags since it can well be vanilla pods contaminated with mold that yet won't be visible for as long as the vacuum is airtight, unopened.

EMPOWERING FARMERS' MARKET

The current lack of transparency regarding vanilla quality, origin and prices is common practises which betrays the lack of rigor and professionalism of resellers who purposely exploit farmers. Also, as per article L 121-8 of the consommation code, in order to inform consumers of their interest following farmers negatives experiences and consumers negatives reviews and complains about david V., galand V. etc... we highly recommend you to systematically request to see the analysis, the phytosanitary and the origin certificates of the vanilla beans you purchase from resellers, more over when they have no reliable professional expertise in gastronomy, nor in International Trade, neither are vanilla farmers. They are useless, add no value to Farmers' Market and are additional intermediates who cost a lot to consumers.

QUALITY AND RESPECT OF A RARE FRUIT

From the cultivation of the vanilla vines to its flowers blooming and the vanilla pods well crystallised in their glass tubes, it's a 2 years process - at least - and every year bring its specificity and changes, impacting vanilla pods production and quality. Whether it's unaware resellers who know too little about vanilla to source high quality pods, or companies that willfully sell low quality in vacuum bags, here is what you must pay attention to when buying vanilla pods:


MOLD - a white  fungus that grows and spreads on vanilla beans as white fluffy, cottony starcher looking like fuzz or dry bleachy foam matter - is the worst enemy of vanilla farmers. It happens on vanilla pods that have too much moisture and too little vanillin content, that aren’t mature enough or improperly cured and prepared, and are the result of bad practices.

According the specie and refining method, there is an exact ratio of humidity content to vanillin percent that can scientifically guarantee the quality of the pods. Vanillin is the natural expression of the benzenoid crystal that matures inside the vanilla pods, which can create an odd acidic smell if prematurely harvested or not properly cured, or a delicious vanilla fragrant smell when the processes are perfectly handled.

Mold-proneness and susceptibility usually cannot be stopped, and even if cleaned from a pod, due to its natural molecular composition, even if dried, will always come back. Mold creates mycelial networks that can actually communicate from one pod to another in the same package through thin air. Since the fungus can learn which way to move and expand, pods generally remold at the same places even if they have been washed, unless they are further dried and sunned to crystallize enough vanillin. If any mold exists and it has not enough anti fungal biological mechanism in the pod it will remember the paths the mycelium took, and repeat the mold bloom on the same spots again.

BAN AIRTIGHT VACUUM STORAGE

When vacuum packed - which is very often used to hide moldy pods - the pods literally suffocate and this create ideal conditions for the mold which finally bloom and destroy the whole batch of pods once opened. In general, sellers knowingly sell moldy pods as they can very well appear in perfect condition inside the vacuum bag. The mold will start to grow after few days or weeks only after opening the vacuum bag, and sellers will blame it on the customer and refuse to replace or refund.

Despite mold vanilla pods are illegal to export - more over to sell - it recently became a common problem with inexperienced or dishonest exporters and sellers in America, Asia, and Europe. Some of the largest companies have been themselves perpetrators of such malpractices to get rid of their stocks.

If you find mold on vanilla pods, you are entitled to replacement or refund since it's non compliant goods ; and do not believe that they can be cleaned with alcohol. Moldy vanilla pods do not have enough mature flavor profile and not high enough vanillin content at the first place, and too much moisture and the mold will always regrow within the husk, skin, and plant matter.


OVERDRIED VANILLA PODS - breaking when you bend them, lack of oil on the surface and weak aromas are the signs of overdried vanilla pods. Happens when the pods have been too exposed to the sun, as well as on pods which have been too scarified, or when the pods have not been properly cured or stored. Poor vanilla cultivars quality and cultivation malpractices, premature harvests and improper curing and refining methods due to financial pressure, poor packing and shipping conditions, exposure to humidity and heat as well as warehouses poor storage conditions, has resulted in moldy and overdried vanilla scandals after taking on moisture content in the stocks in transit from many buyers and producers since the past years.


TERROIRS AND ORIGINS - in addition, vanilla farmers are also facing thefts inside their plantations, the export market have to deal too with many malicious buyers swapping foreign pods in order to attempt fraudulent returns. Every year there is vanilla seized by customs worldwide and these mold-bombs are driving the prices down to the bottom.

TRACEABILITY

As a preventative measure, the returned beans are now lot-match checked, farm-pegged, or traditionally tattooed and tracked to ensure the returned pods are actually the same exported. Tracking technology and ISO standards have made it easier for vanilla professionals and, together with basic low-tech tattooing, are helping to eliminate mold, overdried and low quality vanilla pods as well as unscrupulous exporters, buyers and resellers malpractices.

 


HOW TO STORE VANILLA?

In a well closed glass tube, a glass jar or a glass pot or bottle, according the number of pods and their sizes, well protected from the light, from the heat and from the frost. Avoid corks and avoid mixing differents terroirs. You may also scrape the seeds only of the pod, or cut an inch or two of it to use in your recipe, and keep the rest of the pods intact inside the glass tube for later use.

PREMIUM QUALITY GUARANTEE                                                     THE VANILLA SHOP                                            VANILLA EXTRACTS AND CAVIARS

 
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